The World's 50 Best Restaurant awards are coming to Australia in April and it's going to be a culinary tour de force like we've never seen before. To bone up on your 50 Best, we take a look at some of the greatest dishes from the big guns of the list.
Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano
Osteria Francescana, Italy
Current Restaurant Rating: 1
"The taste of parmigiano is the perfect umami," says Massimo Bottura in the Netflix series Chef's Table. "The perfect balance between sweet, savoury, acidity and bitterness." The Osteria Francescana chef manipulates five ages of Modenese parmigiano into five different textures – souffle, foam, galette, sauce and an "air" made from 50-month-old crusts. It illuminates the versatility and changing taste of parmigiano, the terroir of Modena and Bottura's intimate knowledge of the cow's milk cheese.
The Hen and the Egg
Current Restaurant Rating: 5
Noma's greatest dish? Take your pick. "The Sea" of buttery shrimps, beach plants, rocks and urchin "sand" perhaps. Or maybe the pickled vegetables Rene Redzepi served in 2007 that started a global movement of "new Nordic" cooking. Or how about "the hen and the egg"? A DIY number where diners crack and fry a speckled duck egg in hay-infused oil for two minutes before adding thyme butter, spinach, wild ransom and flowers. "A hundred tiny things have been orchestrated to ensure that you will be eating the best fried egg of your life," said LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold in 2011.
Hot Potato, Cold Potato
Current Restaurant Rating: 15
A ball of hot yukon gold potato cooked in clarified butter is skewered with stick-mates chive, parmesan and black truffle. The swish kebab is threaded through the lip of a bowl to hang in mid-air over a potato and truffle soup and the diner is invited to pull the pin on proceedings, causing the hot potato to collapse into the cold one. Avant-garde dishes like this put Chicago on the fine-dining map when chef Grant Achatz opened Alinea in 2005 and the restaurant remains as relevant today as it was then.
Current Restaurant Rating: 8
This tribute to Japan's forests is a highlight of the innovative tasting menu at Yoshihiro Narisawa's Tokyo restaurant, currently The World's 50 Best Restaurant's highest ranked venue in Asia. Satoyama is a Japanese term for the farming land bordering mountains and forests. Narisawa's edible landscape is designed to be eaten with your hands (as if you were foraging) and contains much in the way of matcha and other herby green powders to represent moss. Fried burdock root becomes a fallen log and soy pulp turns into soil. A tree stump filled with cedar-infused water brings it all together with the scent of spring rain.
Current Restaurant Rating: 19
The world's most elegant egg since Faberge quit the jewel business. Vegetable-fancying chef Alain Passard created the chaud-froid d'oeuf au sirop d'érable in the early 1980s and it remains a signature of the Arpege carte in Paris; warm poached egg yolk, maple syrup, chives and cold sherry cream served in an eggshell. A song of sweet and sour, confidence and fragility.
Current Restaurant Rating: 23
Chef Gaggan Anand's signature amuse-bouche is inspired by the yoghurt his mother would serve with lentil cakes when he was a child. Rocketing Indian cuisine into the 21st century, this is a molecular one-bite bomb of mango chutney and yoghurt flavours getting the diner pumped for the food adventure to come.
Salted red kangaroo and bunya bunya
Current Restaurant Rating: 33
New-Zealand-born chef Ben Shewry's Ripponlea fine-diner is the only Australian venue to appear on the World's 50 Best Restaurant list. Attica looks to Australiana and native ingredients for inspiration and the tasting menu includes "Gazza's Vegemite pie", "smashed avo on toast" and "backyard spider". Salted red roo fillet is an elegant standout, served with an ancient mix of native currents, purple carrot and bunya bunya puree. Shewry joins Crowded House and Russell Crowe in the Kiwis We Claim as Australian Club.
Brown sugar tart
The Ledbury, UK
Current Restaurant Rating: 14
Newcastle exports more than coal, you know. Former Novocastrian chef Brett Graham opened The Ledbury in central London in 2005 and it has been named London's best restaurant many times since. While Graham is known for progressing British cuisine and showcasing English game, it's Ledbury's dessert that Londoners go nuts for – a handsome tranche of brown sugar tart teamed with poached muscat grapes and stem ginger ice-cream. (Feel free to open an Australian joint anytime, Brett.)
The world's top chefs will share their knowledge at #50BestTalks, live Q&A shows in Sydney and Melbourne, hosted by ABC presenter Annabel Crabb.
Edible ideas with Massimo Bottura, Dominique Crenn, Peter Gilmore and Brett Graham.
Saturday, April 1, Sydney Opera House. General entry $30, VIP tickets $119.
Edible ideas with Daniel Humm, Will Guidara, Gaggan Anand, Jordi Roca and Grant Achatz.
Monday, April 3, Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne Park. General entry $30, VIP tickets $99.
Tickets available at goodfood.com.au/worlds50best