November 2009

There are still lots of lovely beetroots around and you’ll find them at The Victoria Room in several guises. They appear as a dip alongside baba ganoush and houmous with warm pide on a mezze plate. For the main course, look out for the house-made beetroot relish served with twice-cooked duck confit infused with orange and juniper. And for those days when too much beetroot is never enough, there’s a warm salad of citrus-caramelised beetroot with pistachio and cumin.

Pumpkins, especially the Japanese ones, are sweet, cheap and good right now. It’s sautéed and accompanies grilled mulloway fillet, green lentils and spinach with harissa and yoghurt at Fish at the Rocks. It also goes into ravioli with ricotta cheese at the same place as a starter with sautéed prawns, lemon and chive butter.

Now’s the time to go crazy with asparagus — it’s cheap and it’s everywhere. And they’ve certainly gone crazy at the Summit Restaurant (Level 47, 264 George Street, Sydney, ph 9247 9777) with an unusual asparagus pissaladiere, teaming it with buffalo mozzarella, taleggio, sweet walnuts, young leaves, onions and warm green grape dressing.

New potatoes are peaking now, too, and you can find them at the Welcome Hotel alongside roasted lamb rack, mache lettuce and baby caper salad. (91 Evans Street, Rozelle, ph 9810 1323). While there, seize the moment to try Roman beans — it’s a pretty short season before they get too big and coarse. Chef Alex Watts is making them into a salad with cherry tomatoes and preserved lemon dressing to accompany pan-fried Queensland banana prawns.

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