(as heard on FBI radio)
Sweetie, Shag and I have talked vegetarian 'establishments' before, that is places that exclusively cater vegetarian food. This doesn't mean, however, that restaurants that serve meat don't serve kick-ass vegetarian dishes. Here are three vegetarian dishes from around Sydney that stand up on their own as brilliant, regardless of whether they contain meat or not.
1. Special braised eggplant, Chinese Noodle Restaurant
8 Quay St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9281 9051
The cat may well and truly be out of the bag when it comes to how good this hole in the wall is, but if you haven't tried the special braised eggplant, I posit you haven't experienced Chinese Noodle Restaurant properly.
Braised, tossed in flour and fried with garlic, sweet soy and other secret herbs and spices, the result is sticky, caramelised golden, bite sized pieces of garlicy, eggplanty goodness. Careful not to dive in to quickly, this dish is brought to the table at the temperature of a teenage boy upon seeing Megan Fox so be patient and allow it to cool before digging in.
The upside is that a) will have just consumed your yearly intake of garlic, b) vampires won't find you too appealing
2. Malai Kofti, Himalaya Restaurant, Five Dock
205 Great North Rd
Five Dock NSW 2046
(02) 9712 2726
Indian cuisine caters brilliantly for vegetarians. Of course there are deeply flavoured, spicy curries incorporating goat or lamb, but Himalaya's malai kofti are as substantial as you'd hope to get. Featuring balls made from paneer (a non-aged, acid set cheese found in South Asian and Persian cuisines) as well as vegetables and cream, these are served with an aromatic sauce of ginger, coriander.
3. Pumpkin, sage and ricotta lasagne, Pendolino, Sydney City
2/412-414 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9231 6117
Chef and owner Nino Zoccali really loves olive oil. In fact there's a special olive oil room at the restaurant and almost every dish that leaves the kitchen is blessed with a little of it as it begins its journey to be consumed. But I digress. The lasagne in question is no ordinary lasagne. Silky sheets of handmade-on-the-premises pasta are layered with pumpkin, sage and ricotta and (here's the tricky bit), sprinkled with amaretto biscuits before being baked. These golden crumbs highlight the sweetness of the pumpkin and contrasts with the savoury sage beautifully.
Who cares about meat when vegetarian food tastes this good?