New South Wales’ most uniquely Australian restaurants
Billy Kwong, Sydney
Culinary evangelist and owner/chef Kylie Kwong has developed a way of cooking that is uniquely Australian-Chinese. “When you come to Billy Kwong, I want to offer you Australia on a plate,” she says. “For me, this means integrating this country’s extraordinary native ingredients with the classic Cantonese dishes of my heritage.” For you, that means prawn and cricket wontons with sweet chilli sauce; lush, green saltbush pancakes; and red-braised caramelised wallaby with black bean and chilli, eaten while perched on a stool in a casual/chic modern Asian diner. Critics are raving, and the queues go out the door and down the street.
Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney
When New York superstar chef David Chang opened his first restaurant outside America in Sydney in 2012, his mission statement was simple: to use the bounty of Australia. Take a stool at the wrap-around kitchen counter under the black and white AC/DC posters and yes, you will still find the Momofuku trademark steamed pork belly buns on the menu, but chef Ben Greeno is just as likely to present you with subtly sweet marron (a native freshwater crayfish) with seaweed and salsify, or a dessert of malty ice-cream enlivened with the crunch of wattleseed meringue. “We have to get our heads around what’s out there, and we have to use what we’ve got” says Chang. “I hope it gets to the point where everybody in this country starts cooking kangaroo and wallaby. That has to be the long-term goal.”
In a sleepy country town in the lush southern highlands of New South Wales, big-city chef James Viles combines high-tech cookery with a deep-seated commitment to local produce at Biota – right down to the ducks and geese grazing outside around a Disneyland pond. Indigenous ingredients appear as natural, integral and harmonious components of dishes such as molasses-glazed beef with saltbush, native berries and leek; and cuttlefish with its own ink, oyster crème and sea lettuce emulsion. A popular bar and monthly farmers’ market adds to the experience.
Bentley Restaurant + Bar, Sydney
Tucked into a gloriously tall-ceilinged historic building in the heart of Sydney, Bentley – led by restlessly creative chef Brent Savage – responds to the call of the wild. Sample rare and rested kangaroo fillet with a glossy sticky riberry sauce, and a dessert of aerated chocolate with fig leaf ice-cream and tangy lemon aspen. The corporate-by-day, chic-by-night crowds are lapping it up.