By Leigh O’Connor.
As the Summer sun blazes and alfresco dining on long, lazy evenings beckon, Australians fire up the barbeque and send their senses into overload with the aroma of thrills on the grill.
Nothing says Summer more than the sound and smell of sizzling meat - accompanied by a cold beer or glass of wine - and good company. Families and friends gather to soak up the last warm rays, as balmy breezes blow in from the coast, and fill the grill with all manner of taste tempters from the humble sausage to steak, seafood and lamb.
If you’re stuck for some suggestions for your next Summer feast, here’s a few creative options to turn heads and guarantee clean plates.
Bills Fishhouse + Bar in Port Macquarie serves up a menu infused with wood smoked and char-grilled fare, such as North African spiced poussin over coals, with smashed chats and fennel salt. This maritime-themed restaurant with textured timbers and coastal tones, lures diners with fresh seafood as well as plates featuring Ethiopian berbere spice, as in this recipe. Butterflied poussin are rubbed in a mix of lemon, thyme, berbere, bay leaf and rock salt, cured for three hours, cooked in a water bath and finished on the grill. Served with a cucumber salad, baby potatoes and chipotle mayo, this will be a firm, family favourite.
From Sephardim in Warners Bay comes this recipe for Zhoug lamb with charred corn and Spring tabouleh, using the fiery, spicy, zesty and garlic condiment from the Middle East. Popular throughout Israel and Syria, Zhoug lifts the palate and can be used both as a condiment - served alongside falafel or kofta – or a marinade and sauce, as in this lamb recipe. It is equally delicious on fried chicken wings and prawns, teamed with a Turkish red wine from the Kavaklidere Estate, with intense red fruit pomegranate and cherry flavours.
A slice of Latin America in Nobby Beach, Fire Cue has a sassy vibe where diners can inhale the aroma of a whole beast roasting over open flames. Seafood is also on the menu, such as this recipe for BBQ Mooloolaba King prawns with Fire Cue chilli sauce, cooked on a Weber until crispy orange and smothered in spicy glaze. Place the prawns on a plate, resting on guacamole and salad, dressed with vinaigrette, lime wedges and Fire Cue’s chilli sauce.
For a Japanese take on barbequed steak, try this Sher Wagyu tenderloin tataki with pickled Japanese vegetables courtesy of Steer Dining Room in Melbourne’s foodie hub of South Yarra. With its paddock to plate philosophy, Steer brings the farm to the city and this recipe is no exception, with tender Wagyu steak marinated in miso and charred rare, then garnished with pickled carrots, cucumber, radish and daikon. Arrange the thinly sliced beef on a plate, top with grated Tasmanian wasabi and a dish of ponzu dipping sauce and watch it disappear in seconds.
Perched a stone’s throw from St Kilda Sea Baths, Captain Baxter gives new meaning to beachside dining, with its prime view, sun lounges and astro turfed deck. Tuck into bar bites, grazing plates or larger dishes like BBQ swordfish with diamond clams and XO sauce, where the meatiness of swordfish is complemented by the spicy bite of XO and plump texture of clams. Finished with a drizzle of basil oil and garnished with micro radish and Vietnamese mint, this dish pairs well with a side of brown rice.
Oozing a sleek vibe, Level One has quickly become one of the hot spots to dine in Adelaide City. This modern Asian restaurant has an informal style, with the focus on sharing plates with friends and their Korean pork rack and belly BBQ dish is ideal for wowing guests at a weekend get together. Utilising both sous-vide and charcoal grill techniques, the pork is charred, cooked in a water bath, then braised in a sauce mixture of Korean chilli paste, soy sauce and diced fruit. To finish, the mouth-wateringly tender cubes of pork are glazed with a zesty sauce and served with yuzu dressing.
As Aussies well know, seafood and barbeques belong together. Instead of throwing another prawn on the barbie, try this Eastern rock lobster with samphire and yuzu butter recipe from Harbourfront Restaurant in Wollongong. Boasting sweeping harbour views, this tri-level restaurant is renowned for its creative seafood fare and this offering won’t disappoint, with the saltwater tang of samphire and citrus flavours of yuzu butter, melting over succulent lobster meat. Team with a favourite salad and glass of white for a memorable meal that will have guests wanting more.
Challenging palates with an innovative and ever-evolving Mod Oz menu, 8th Ave Terrace in Palm Beach delivers a culinary experience to be remembered and their Chef’s Sicilian lamb leg with red vein sorrel, radicchio and preserved lemon is no exception. This butterflied leg of lamb is covered in a lemon, garlic, rosemary and red wine vinegar rub, cooked on a Weber until pink and tender and served with sliced preserved lemon slices, sorrel and radicchio. Simply stunning and sure to put a satisfied smile on faces and empty plates in the dishwasher.
Inspired to fire up the grill? Click here for more barbeque recipes.