If you need a reason to stop by Fratelli Fresh’s new 500-seat emporium in Darling Harbour, let it be for the fiercely Italian spit-roasted porchetta. Slow-barbecued till crisp at the restaurant’s standalone rotisserie (where they also serve a melty lamb shoulder), the pork is rolled with fresh parsley, chilli,
dried herbs and olive oil before being sliced to order with ribbons of golden crackling. Enjoy the still-juicy meat with Bortolli beans, sun-dried capsicum, and lashings of housemade salsa verde.
A New Orleans-inspired restaurant, NOLA is all about deep Creole flavours and smoked meats. Try the Pit-Master's platter – a $49 per head affair that takes you on a quick, Southern tour of what it does best: barbecued Junee lamb, tea-brined organic chicken, double-smoked pork sausages and slices of charred brisket served with a grassy chimichurri sauce. All platters come with housemade pickles, your choice of a side (we dig the crisp okra) and tangy sauces.
Hosting a Sunday roast may earn you social brownie points, but who wants to spend a weekend morning out of bed and peeling root vegetables? Enter the Royal in Paddington. For a reasonable $35 a head, the cosy pub lets you host your own old-timey English roast without the hassle. Think still-pink roast beef, honey glazed carrots, crisp potatoes and all the things that scream ‘happy, well-adjusted childhood’. Oh, and mulled wine, too.
Anyone who’s been stuck in the CBD after dark has faced the same dilemma: “Do I starve? Or do I smash an Uber Eats Pad Thai before bed again?” Thankfully, Bellucci is here for your dinnertime needs. Try the pan-roasted spatchcock – made tender in a sous vide for 2.5 hours and finished in a spicy 'ndjuja oil. Pan seared and served with bitter greens and burnt lemon, it’s the proper end to a chilly night out in town.
For a waterfront restaurant that specialises in vermouth – and botanicals-infused Martinis – Barangaroo’s Banksii has a surprisingly hearty menu. Warm up with their sticky, eight-hour braised beef ribs. Served on a bed of smoked carrot purée, housemade pickled onions and topped with ribbons of shaved purple Dutch carrot, it’s the kind of cold weather dish that’s as tasty as it is photogenic. Order a side of roasted potatoes with anchovy butter and chopped herbs for added comfort.
A decent duck confit need not be a French kitchen’s domain. Chippendale’s New York steakhouse-inspired Eastside Kitchen does a smashing version with an Asian twist. The slow-cooked gem is seasoned with rosemary, thyme and five-spice, then simmered in duck fat until the meat falls off the bone. The dish comes with an earthy parsnip confit that’s brightened by persimmon and oranges — a modern winter warmer with a fruity touch.
Chef James Richardson, who worked alongside Cafe Paci’s Pasi Petanen, has given Tilbury Hotel’s winter menu a new, offbeat makeover. We’re talking miso-flavoured cake and smoky,
vegemite-glazed lamb rump, plus – for traditionalists – a free-range Borrowdale roast pork loin that’s served with an old-school potato gratin and topped with shaved Brussels sprout. Stop by for a mix of old and new at this underrated Woolloomooloo gastro pub.
Once housed on CBD’s York Street, this relaunched eastern suburbs newbie is already attracting a steady following. Chef Xenia Jade puts her own spin on contemporary Australian classics: think sirloin rolled in an ash crust, or beetroot risotto with sheep’s yoghurt. This winter, try their four-hour braised Wagyu beef cheek. Wrapped in a layer of vincotto-soaked radicchio, the melty protein is served with a herb-infused jus and micro rainbow carrots and turnips.
No one does baked lamb quite like the Greeks. At Potts Point’s beloved local the Apollo, chef Jonathan Barthelmess cooks his for 12 hours, letting all the garlic, cumin, cardamom, thyme and lemon flavours soak in. Thanks to the slow-bake over charcoal, the lamb shoulder takes on a smoky flavour and a dark crust that yields to fall-off-the-bone meat. Served with dollops of Greek yoghurt, it’s perfect with a side of crisp roast potatoes — just save room for the honey-soaked loukoumades.
For a small bar in Lane Cove, Shorties packs in plenty of hearty dishes on its share menu. Embrace the list of pun-heavy cocktails (‘Espresso Yourself’! ‘Herb Your Enthusiasm’!) and warm your stomach with a beer-braised pork shoulder or beef cheek on kale mash. Better still, stop by on a Sunday and try the 12-hour slow-roasted beef brisket with salt and vinegar potatoes, roast carrots and old-school gravy on its own giant Yorkshire pudding — the ultimate Sunday roast with a twist.