The annual award season kicks off each year with The World’s 50 Best Restaurant List – and a big shout out to Ben Shewry at Attica flying the Aussie flag at #20 in 2018! Here’s my annual ‘awards’ – a roundup of the five best dishes I ate in 2017-2018. They’re all more snacks than meals, interactive and best eaten by hand – food that makes me happy.
Bagna Cauda Bert’s
This warm anchovy dip (the name literally means ‘warm bath’ in Piedmont dialect) is lifted to a whole new level served with an iced platter of tiny baby vegetables (radish, carrot, beans …) at this gorgeous brasserie overlooking Pittwater.
Yabby, Lemon & Cream Pikelets Bennelong
This delicious assemble-it-yourself dish is a fun take on the pikelets of my Aussie childhood. Halved red claw yabbies are served with tart lemon jam, rich cultured cream and warm buckwheat pikelets, for diners to wrap and devour.
Wild Weed Pie The Apollo
I’ve always loved this dish, passed on to Jonathan Barthelmess by his mentor and friend Janni Kyritsis: house-made filo (thicker and crunchier than the commercial kind) filled with chicory, dandelion, silverbeet, dill, feta and kefalograviera. YUM!
Acqua Valencia Ormeggio at the Spit
This taste explosion is part of the splendid ‘A Trip via Spain’ collaboration between Alessandro Pavoni and Spanish head chef Victor Moya: a granita of cava, orange and vodka set inside an orange shell and topped with finger lime, lime zest and mountain pepper.
Carciofi alla Giudia Marta
Thank you Flavio Carnevale for bringing this classic from the Jewish cuisine of Rome to Sydney – a whole artichoke, deep-fried so that opens out like a flower, each petal offering a crunchy tip and succulent base. Simple deliciousness!