April 2009

With the Victorian bush fires behind us, things are slowly recovering. The heat, rather than the flames, played havoc with herbs and other leafy crops but, after a problematic month, they’re all back on track. Fennel in all sizes is still good and it’s showing up along with endive, radicchio and radish in a fine, citrus-dressed salad at Blackwater Ristorante in Sans Souci. Its bitter flavours cut perfectly through the rich tagliatelle carbonara with cured guanciale (pig’s cheek) and truffled duck eggs.

Autumn is mushroom season, but given the temperamental nature of wild ones, they’re a special rather than an everyday menu item. For that reason the dependable cultivated ones will always be found in dishes such as the popular fettuccine boscaiola with ham and cream at Caffe Moretti

Spuds are good and are worth trying in the tangy shredded potato salad at Silk Road.  Fans of the humble chip will understand how good a well-handled sebago can be when they try the chips at Mulligans Irish Restaurant. If your main course doesn’t come with them, order them as a side — you won’t regret it.

Baby vegies around now include turnips and carrots, but it’s baby red beetroot appearing candied on the dessert menu at Atelier. It’s served with frozen liquorice parfait and red wine jelly.

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