Good Food NSW's 100 Good Things 41-60: Regional town produce, sausage, PS40

Hash browns and taleggio at Baretto Nights by Pilu at Freshwater.
Hash browns and taleggio at Baretto Nights by Pilu at Freshwater. Photo: Supplied

Instead of the Good Food Guide, this year we bring 100 Good Things to the table: a collection of people, places, moments and mementos that best represent 2020.

41. Hot Baretto nights

It's been more than 12 years since Mitch Orr was at Pilu topping pasta with bottarga, but now the former-Acme chef has returned to Freshwater's most loved restaurant. Orr has designed the evening menu for Pilu's casual offshoot, Baretto, open weekend nights while daylight saving is still with us. Expect flavour-forward dishes such as hash browns covered in melting taleggio and malloreddus shiny with tomato butter and spanner crab. CB pilu.com.au

PS40's 'Burning Man' non-alcoholic cocktail, which is made with Seedlip Garden, rosemary smoked pea and burnt honey.

PS40's Burning Man non-alcoholic cocktail, with Seedlip Garden, rosemary smoked pea and burnt honey. Photo: Supplied

42. PS, we love you

On Tuesdays in the CBD's Skittle Lane, celebrated cocktail and soda bar PS40 turns over the reins to become a restaurant for the night. While chefs are dusting off the past year and new openings are still in the works, collaborations will continue to go strong. Past PS takeovers have included Rockpool Bar and Grill's Corey Costelloe, Sokyo's head sushi chef Alex Yu and Cambodian food pop-up Bopha. MR ps40bar.com

Chef Ben Shewry at his new venue, Attica Summer Camp in Seville. 13 November 2020. The Age News. Photo: Eddie Jim.

Chef Ben Shewry at his new venue Attica Summer Camp in Seville. Photo: Eddie Jim

43. So long, we're off to Summer Camp

Escaping to Victoria for the holidays? The hot-ticket restaurant is Attica Summer Camp. Three-hat chef Ben Shewry begins a residency just before Christmas at the former Lillydale Estate winery in Seville, with a party-friendly space among the vines. "If Attica has come from years of research and refinement, then Summer Camp will be the complete opposite," says Shewry. MR attica.com.au

44. Good karma is just a donation away

Caring for others is the ultimate in self-care. Do a tiny bit of good by leaving some shelf-stable food, toiletries and other essentials, or even just some words of support on a Post-it note at The Newtown Blessing Box. It even has its own Instagram account. MR @newtownblessingbox

***EMBARGOED FOR GOOD WEEKEND, NOVEMBER 21/20 ISSUE***
Portrait of chef Josh Niland from Saint Peter, Paddington. For the Good Weekend Who Mattered Issue. Photographed Thursday 12th November 2020. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH GOOD WEEKEND 201112

Josh Niland's creative focus and technique have never been sharper. Photo: James Brickwood

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45. Josh Niland's gill complex

Josh Niland became the first Australian to win Book of the Year at America's coveted James Beard Awards in May, a huge achievement for the chef and for seafood cookery. Meanwhile back in Paddington, The Whole Fish Cookbook author relaunched his Saint Peter mothership with a flash new fitout and bar-only seating. A reduced guest capacity means Niland's creative focus and technique have never been sharper, but you'll need to book at least three months in advance for the experience. Best do it now. CB saintpeter.com.au

Nikki To – Wed, 25. November 2020 1:40 PMAB5I0722_NikkiTo.jpgA selection for the home larder at Firedoor's Fireshop.

Firedoor's general-store side hustle is still going strong. Photo: Nikki To

46. Where there's smoked butter, there's Fireshop

When Netflix dropped a Chef's Table episode starring Firedoor chef Lennox Hastie in September, dinner at his wood-fuelled restaurant became the hottest ticket in town. A spot at the Firedoor counter has never been easy to snare, but now it's near impossible. Thankfully, Hastie's general-store side hustle is still going strong, allowing Firedoor fans to recreate the restaurant on a home barbecue, right down to buying grapevine wood for grilling rib-eyes. CB firedoor.com.au

47. Chef we love to love

Danielle Alvarez, the Good Food recipe writer and head chef of Paddington fine diner Fred's might have had a modest start peeling eggs for Thomas Keller at the French Laundry (Yountville), but her years cooking at Chez Panisse (Berkeley) for Alice Waters stood her in good stead for her book Always Add Lemon (Hardie Grant). And yes, her famous chardonnay vinaigrette recipe is included. A mix of shallots, vinegar, honey and olive oil, tossed with some soft lettuce leaves = summer suppers for the win. We can't get enough. MR booktopia.com.au

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ben Devlin (@benydev)

48. Ben Devlin's closed-loop art

Those of us not elbow-deep in the world of hospitality may never know just how grim it was during the lean, slow year that has been 2020. And we may never fully understand the deep trauma it caused for those workers. What we saw instead was an incredible outpouring of industry and creativity. There were chefs such as Dan Puskas, who turned his three-hat Stanmore restaurant Sixpenny into a general store and (incredibly successful) bakery just to survive.

And then there's Ben Devlin of Pipit in Pottsville, on the NSW North Coast, who took all the heartache of the year and channelled it into art. He built a kiln and started roasting the discarded bones of the birds and fish he serves in the dining room to make ash and charcoal, which he turns into ink and then uses to create gyotaku – the Japanese method of making impressions with the bodies of fish onto paper. He sells the artwork on his Instagram page, @benydev. He also started experimenting with using those bones to make literal bone china, in collaboration with Pottsville ceramicists Grit. Think of it as closed-loop ceramics. MR pipitrestaurant.com

The Age, Good Food .The Empty Esky team,  Erin, Eleanor and Elise have started a campaign to save businesses affected by the bushfires.Pic SImon Schluter 20 January 2020.

The team from Empty Esky.

49. Road-tripping to help regional producers

Empty Esky launched in January, encouraging Australians to take an ice-box to regional areas affected by bushfires and fill it to the brim with cracking local produce – food such as oysters, cheese and pasture-raised meat that might otherwise go to waste. With regional areas still getting back on their feet after fires and a pandemic, hitting the road with an empty Esky is a beaut holiday idea this summer, too. The not-for-profit has a website with maps and itineraries highlighting all the best food stops. Coastal fish 'n' chips, ahoy. CB emptyesky.com.au

50. The total sausage

Great news, smallgoods nerds. Just before COVID, Luke Powell turned his Chippendale restaurant, LP's Quality Meats, into a sausage shop with a dedicated curing room. And you can now buy his pig's-head sausages all across Sydney. MR lpsqualitymeats.com

La Paula Chilean bakery and restarant in Fairfield. Photographed Thursday 23rd August 2018. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH GOOD FOOD 180823

A Chilean hotdog from La Paula in Fairfield. Photo: James Brickwood

51. Be a tourist in your own city (part 1)

You can't go travelling to faraway places but you can indulge your taste for exotic fare – all you need is an Opal card. A day spent eating your way through the streets of Fairfield is a damn good one. Start at Lao Village for crisp-fried quails and Lao-style fried rice with fermented pork and coconut, then chow down on the Iraqi skewers wrapped in hot fresh bread at Kebab Abu Ali, as you make your way to La Paula Continental Cakes and Sandwiches for a plethora of Chilean eats, including hotdogs, empanadas and pastries filled with dulce de leche.

You'll be welcomed to Auburn by the smoke billowing from the many Turkish kebab restaurants. But check out the skewer action beyond Turkey at north-west Chinese restaurant Tarim Uyghur Handmade Noodles, and Persian-style skewers alongside buttery rice at Darband.

Bankstown is home to the undisputed best bowl of pho in Sydney at An Restaurant, and good luck finding a banh mi joint with more variety than Bay Ngo, which features sandwiches filled with pork, chicken and fish, all of which can (and should) be topped with a freshly fried egg. If you're looking for a legendary charcoal chicken, hit Taste of Egypt. AL tarimuyghur.com.au; darband.com.au; anrestaurant.com.au

All-new Monopole opens new venue in Sydney CBD
Supplied PR shots

The all-new Monopole on Hunter Street in the Sydney CBD. Photo: Supplied

52. Goodbye Potts Point, hello city

There's a new spot for CBD six o'clock swilling with wine bar Monopole moving from Potts Point to Hunter Street. The light-filled 80-seater has bistro vibes during the day before switching to a smart-casual wine temple. Co-owners Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt have turned the Monopole site into Ria Pizza + Wine, for crisp sourdough bases topped with local produce. CB monopolesydney.com.au

53. Don't panic, it's organic

A favourite with chefs, Block 11 Organics is a third-generation farming business. Produce is grown on farms around the Hawkesbury and in the Central West, and it can now be ordered and delivered straight to your door. Buy from small farms, eat better. MR block11organics.com.au

54. Save the world – buy better honey

They say once the bees go, we humans will go with them. That's a very good incentive to start investing in nature's tiny superheroes. Malfroy's Gold is about as wild as it gets. Apiarist Tim Malfroy uses Warre hives, which are designed to mimic the natural conditions of wild bees. Extracted from hives around the Blue Mountains and Central Tablelands, each variety (redgum, yellowbox and stringybark among them) is unfiltered and cold-spun, which means the honey never gets warmer than beehive temperature. Natural medicine that is also delicious. MR malfroysgold.com.au

Interior photography of Bar 83, Sydney Tower Story: Sydney TowerWriter: Stephen ToddDate: Nov 27

Sink into a Didier couch while looking over the Sydney skyline at Bar 83. Photo: Supplied

55. Visit the bar with 1960s looks and 2021 sensibilities

Sydney Tower's brand-new Bar 83 boasts looks (sink into a Didier couch while looking over the Sydney skyline) and brains (order from a menu designed by award-winning bartender Jenna Hemsworth) and, get this, it revolves. The ultimate triple threat. MR bar83sydneytower.com.au

56. Cream Collection linen apron

All dressed up with nowhere to go but the fridge? Cream's collection of aprons is designed for at-home chefs, gardeners and florists, so you'll look the part and then, with any luck, feel the part. Sixpenny's Dan Puskas and Fred's Danielle Alvarez rock Cream when they're at the burners. The loose-fitting Japanese-style apron with massive pockets is perfect for gardening/foraging/kitchen work. MR creamcollection.com.au

Haymarket IGA now stock some of the best Asian chefs in the city's ready-meals. LtoR Will Mahusey of Sydney Cebu Lechon, Keita Abe of Chaco Bar, Junda Khoo of HoJiak and Sam Young of Lotus. Photographed Thursday 16th July 2020. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH NEWS 200716

Big ups to 'Big' Sam Young. Photo: James Brickwood

57. 'Big' Sam Young, neighbourhood dining hero

Few chefs are quite as vocal and enthusiastic about other people's restaurants (high and low, big and small) as the insatiable, enthusiastic head chef of Potts Point diner Lotus. Even during the darkest hours of lockdown, he was shouting the praises of the rice paper rolls at Pho Quoc in Cabramatta and the flat rice noodles at Traditional Cantonese Taste in Eastwood, and too many others to name here. He has been one of the most active voices on social media during this tough year, pushing people out to the 'burbs, supporting live and local. Big ups to "Big" Sam Young. MR merivale.com/venues/lotus

Supplied - – Wed, 25. November 2020 2:55 PMCampfire fork by Sibella CourtCampfire fork by Sibella Court

Sibella Court's cane-handled toasting fork. Photo: Supplied

58. A glamorous toasting fork

Just when you thought you were complete on the outdoor cooking front, here's an iron, cane-handled toasting fork from Sydney designer Sibella Court. Whip out this piece of hardware the next time you're frying sausages or toasting marshmallows. MR thesocietyinc.com.au

GOOD FOOD. Laksa bomb dumplings at Hojiak Town Hall. For Myffy Rigby. Photographed Thursday 5th November 2020. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH GOOD FOOD 201105

All the flavours of a laksa captured in a dumpling at Hojiak. Photo: James Brickwood

59. Meet the laksa bomb, enemy of white shirts everywhere

Malaysian restaurant Hojiak boasts excellent beef rendang and char kwai teow (stir-fried rice noodles) but the laksa bombs are what everyone's talking about. It's exactly as it sounds – all the flavours of a laksa captured in a dumpling. Have your drycleaner on speed-dial. MR hojiak.com.au

60. Ormeggio 2.0

Bright white stucco walls, handsome yachts and summertime dishes celebrating fresh seafood – are we in Liguria or Mosman here? Ormeggio at the Spit has rebooted its fine-dining model to an approachable snack and share-plate affair, and locals can't get enough of it (especially ones with postponed holidays to the Cinque Terre). No meat on the menu, no worries. NSW yellowfin tuna is treated like cotoletta instead, wonderfully savoury with a seaweed and grissini crumb. The Amalfi lemon gelato is a must. CB ormeggio.com.au

Words: Callan Boys, Andrew Levins, Myffy Rigby