Read part one here

King Prawn Curry at Flying Fish

We popped into the bar at Flying Fish on a whim. It was Father’s Day. The fact that neither me, nor my step dad (the man who introduced me to spices in the first place) had sampled Peter Kuruvita’s signature king prawn curry was something that needed to be remedied.

This is a deconstructed sort of curry. The rice, pickles and sauce all come to the side. There’s a snapper croquette for extra squish and crunch. But it’s mostly about the sauce; a squat caramel pot in which turmeric, coriander and ginger sing loudly.

It’s by no means a cheap dish. But staring at the Harbour Bridge above a fat tower of prawns curling around in a Karma Sutra embrace make it seem a more swallowable extravagance.  Then there’s the sound of  boats clanking up against the pontoon and the sight of people you adore across the table. It’s the kind of place, and dish that makes you very happy to be back in Sydney.

Flying Fish
Jones Bay Wharf, 19-21 Pirrama Rd
Pyrmont NSW 2009
+61 295186677



Crispy Pigs’ Ears in Szechuan Pepper at District Dining

District Dining is my new darling destination in Sydney.  The first week I was back home I was treated to dinner there by my dad and step mum. My dad and I made our way through a very cheeky bottle of pinot noir, slow cooked beef cheeks and veal tongue salads, and we shared a clementine crème brulee and a novel twist on a sticky date pudding.

I had such a grand time I was compelled to pay the pleasure forward. Five days later I returned for lunch with my godson’s doting mum. Her eyes immediately went to the mushroom risotto with marscapone and truffle on the menu. I meanly told her she could eat mushroom risotto any night of the week and bullied her into sharing crispy pig’s ears with me. Luckily we’ve got that kind of relationship. The fact that she tried them -after first stating that pigs’ ears really belong to the dogs- speaks volumes of her devotion.

They’re twisted like stressed fingers and the inside of each strip has a chewy spine of cartilage. The outside is crisp like a prawn cracker and buzzes with the heat of  Szechuan pepper. There are many reasons you should go here. These are just one.

District Dining
17 Randle St
Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia
+61 2 9211 7798  
http://www.districtdining.com.au/  

Churros and Chocolate at The Carrington

I’d always maintained that the best churros in the word are at Chocolateria San Gines, in Madrid. They probably still are, but these give them a damn good run for their money.

The Carrington once was a surly pub in Surry Hills where we’d sip gin and tonics while waiting for a table at Il Baretto. What a difference a year makes. It’s kept its name, but now morphed into a sexy Spanish bar turning out pintxos-style snacks and sturdy sharing plates.  The paella onigiri isa fun multicultural twirl – a slab of spiced rice cake topped with unruly tendrils of calamari- but it’s this dessert that really sticks in my memory. A churro is a streaming star of cinnamon swirled donut, designed for dipping in pots of chocolate sauce. I dare you not to swipe a finger or two in the sticky pot as the night wears on. If you can restrain yourself, you’re a better person than me.

The Carrington
565 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, NSW
+61 2 9360 4714

Crumbed olives stuffed with confit garlic and a Spritz at Berta

Both Vini and its younger city-side sister Berta now share top billing for my favourite moody Italian escapes in Sydney. The interiors of both are sleek and underplayed, the focus is on buzz word bingo of good food; fresh, seasonal, simple stuff on a plate.

But simple doesn’t mean plain. When you order a plate of olives stuffed with confit garlic, that’s exactly what you get. The olives are green and fat, swaddled in an armor of blistered crumbs.  In their bellies is  a gentle mush of softly cooked garlic, with the flavour meter turned to 10. We picked at them while nursing spritzes, with their twang of aperol and prosecco while gently kicking ourselves for missing a year of good times like this.

Berta
17 – 19 Alberta St, Sydney, 2000
+61 2 9264 6133
www.berta.com.au

Chicken tarragon, mint and walnut sandwich at Sonoma

It’s everything you dreamed a chicken sandwich could be, with the added benefit of being enroute to the airport. It comes from the shiny new Sonoma Headquarters in Alexandria. They’re still turning out some of the best coffee in Sydney; made from a custom Single Origin Roasters blend. And then there’s the bread. The sandwiches are made with thin slices of Sonoma’s famed Miche; chewy crust and crumb as dark as a tan after a long day on the sand.

 
But onto the sandwich; the chicken is poached and shredded, bound with tarragon mayonnaise and punctuated by walnuts. When toasted the lettuce in the sandwich goes a little flaccid, but it’s worth it for how the crust crunches and the innards ooze. Any sandwich that can make you forget the prospect of being squeezed in economy for the next 24 hours (and having to give your Dad a goodbye hug) is a bloody good one indeed. I can’t wait to have one on our way home from the airport next time.

Sydney; I miss you already.

Sonoma Alexandria
32-44 Birmingham St Alexandria NSW 2015
+61 2 9690 2060