Homer Simpson may have said "You don't win friends with salad", but perhaps if he'd tried a few of the absolute gems going around Sydney, he mightn't have been so quick to jump to conclusions where the humble insalate is concerned. And it doesn't need to be meaty to become substantial, just look at Fratelli's Cafe Sopra version for starters. All you need is a few interesting textures, a great dressing and of course, the produce better be fresssssssh.
Cafe Sopra, Fratelli Fresh
Potts Point, Walsh Bay, Waterloo
Chef Andy Bunn's cabbage salad may be simple, but it's a favourite throughout the year for its simplicity and elegance. As a side or the better part of your lunch, it's a consistent winner. Featuring sweet, shaved baby cabbage leaves, parmigiano reggiano, balsamic vinegar, and a custom lemon vinaigrette, it's simple enough to do at home, too.
Click here to find the recipe. Want to learn from the master? Check out the Fratelli Fresh cooking class schedule. Our mate Michael from Gosstronomy attended one recently, and the resulting Banofee Pie was pretty damned impressive.
227 Victoria St, Darlinghurst, 2010
As far as iconic salads go, this one's a doosy. From the cafe that spawned one of the largest short film festivals in the world, the Tropicana chicken salad's fans are many and varied. This ain't no fancy salad, it's served in a metal mixing bowl with a basic bread roll as company, but it's the perfect combination of Cos lettuce, thin slices of freshly grilled chicken, wedges of roasted potato, tomato, smokey grilled eggplant, avocado, and Tropicana's house vinaigrette and mayo that makes this salad great. Like Cindy Lauper said, time after time, this salad is consistently good, and with that much meat and vegetable protein, a meal on its own.
Level 1, 52 King Street Sydney, 2000
Since Jeremy Strode took over this well-known dining space, which forms part of the Merivale empire, there are a few dishes that have stood out as favourites among regular diners and reviewers, but none has captured more imagination than the lamb 'hearts and minds' salad. Little globes of crisp-fried outer, creamy-centred lamb's brains sit atop a salad of witlof, watercress and grilled slices of lamb heart.
It's signature Strode in it's rustic simplicity and matter-of-fact employment of offal. Forget what you think it's going to be like and dive right in. You won't be disappointed.
1. Flinders Inn's Tete a porc; brawn slow cooked over mire poix, reduced and served with pickled radishes
2. Yellow's fetta, pomegranate and mint salad.