Humans love fermentation. We use it to make beer, wine, coffee, bread, yoghurt, salami, soy sauce, kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut and a bunch of other delicious stuff. But while authors such as Sandor Katz and chefs such as Noma’s Rene Redzepi have brought fresh attention to this ancient, complex-flavour-producing process, it still feels underused in everyday kitchens. (Also worth mentioning: our growing understanding of the connection between fermentation, gut health and mental health.)
At Orwells, Julia Le Gouic, a former pastry chef at Bentley, has immersed herself completely in the world of pickling, yoghurt, prebiotics, probiotics and SCOBYs – the symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast used to ferment kombucha. House-made beetroot labneh brightens a plate of avo toast. Similarly vibrant sauerkraut enlivens eggs, and a bacon and egg roll comes on a malted-barley bun.
Owner Laurie Holmes is on drinks and runs an ever-changing rota of fermented drinks such as ginger and turmeric kombucha; and strawberry, fennel and lime kefir – a thin, yoghurt-like drink popular in parts of Turkey, Russia and Georgia. These flavours and the associated nutritional stance aren’t for everyone, but it’s nice to see a cafe committing so wholeheartedly to what it believes in.
The Pacific Club Bondi Beach
“Why don’t we eat more native foods?” It’s a simple question with a complex – and sometimes politically fraught – answer that’s probably not worth going into here. For now, we’re sure you’ll agree delicious and nutritious ingredients such as finger lime, lemon myrtle and pepperberry aren’t nearly as widespread on Sydney menus as they should be. The Pacific Club is one operation ready to change that by bringing these plants into a more everyday environment.
Chef Bret Cameron learned from renowned bush-food researcher Peter Hardwick at Harvest Newrybar, in the Byron Bay hinterland. Rather than use the ubiquitous acai, flown in from the Amazon, he’s making smoothie bowls using Kakadu and Davidson’s plums. Porridge gets a makeover with wattleseeds, burnt orange, grilled banana, pecans and maple. This isn’t cheap Australiana, though – many dishes feature no native ingredients, and those that do show restraint.
Like its Bondi peers Rocker, Bills and Panama House, PCB segues artfully into night-time service, offering a brief but fun wine list and cocktails designed by Michael Chiem of PS40. Cameron stretches the native concept a bit further here, pairing quail with strawberry gum; kangaroo loin with quandong; and pork chop with muntries, rather than the classic apple.
182 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
(02) 9057 5775
Mon to Sat 7am–11pm
Edition Coffee Roasters
Brothers Daniel Jackson and Corie Sutherland opened the first Edition in Darlinghurst in 2014. The concept seemed strange back then, but with hindsight, combining Nordic and Japanese cuisines actually makes a lot of sense – both cultures are known for their extensive use of fish and pickling, and a certain minimalist aesthetic. Armed with that novel idea and some of the best coffee in the city, it’s not surprising the brand grew to be a cult hit.
Darlinghurst has closed now, along with that beautiful concertina-looking kiosk at Circular Quay and a couple of other pop-ups. That’s left Jackson (now the sole owner) free to concentrate his energy on this new, rustic, dark-timbered HQ.
Things aren’t quite as fusion-y as they used to be. The menu is more straight-up Japanese by way of a pork-katsu burger on a milk bun, miso-glazed lamb rump with charred brussel sprouts, and chicken karaage. But if the team's taste for new-Nordic cuisine has waned, its commitment to excellent coffee has only strengthened. The crew selects single origin/estate green beans and roasts them for espresso, batch brew, pour-over, Aeropress, Japanese drip and cold brew. Edition also pays plenty of attention to tea, sourcing Chung Feng jasmine from China and Gyokuro from Japan.
60 Darling Drive, Haymarket
Mon to Fri 7am–5pm
Sat & Sun 8am–5pm