The farm to plate trend is quickly gaining popularity amongst Sydney’s health and sustainability savvy populous. But even though the idea of eating fresh local produce is extremely enticing for many of us, the practicality of doing so can be quite problematic. Many of us don’t have time to travel from market to market in order to pick up our fresh produce for the week. Rushcutters restaurant, deli and bar is now offering a solution for us busy city dwellers with the addition of their new marketplace which brings together fresh produce as well as a variety of artisan goods all in one convenient place.
All the produce in the market is locally sourced from farms no more than 50kms from the city centre. It sells fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as artisan goods from local regions including coffee, bread, oils, flour, chocolate, deli meats and dairy products. The restaurant itself places a heavy emphasis on sourcing fresh and organic produce from local farmers and is now allowing its patrons to carry on the experience in their own home by selling fresh local produce.
I went along for breakfast to try out some of their seasonally inspired dishes and to have a browse around their new marketplace. Breakfast kicked off with a vibrant plate of seasonal fruit comprising of pomegranate, plum and persimmon.
The freshness of the fruit and the inclusion of the less conventional persimmon and pomegranate made for a mouthful that was bursting with flavour. It was my first time eating persimmon and I thought it made a really good base to the fruit salad and was a welcome change from the usual apple which is often used to bulk up fruit salads.
Next we had a ‘build your own toast’ experience which again was a great twist on typical café fare. We tried the Munich malt toast and the Rye toast, both of which were richly flavourful as well as embodying the perfect combination of crunchy and chewy.
I slathered my toast in the famous Pepe Saya butter, a cultured butter which puts supermarket brands to shame with its outstanding and distinctive flavour. We were given bowls of Black Russian Tomatoes, fresh basil and Hawkesbury olive oil. Tomato and basil on bread is always a classic combination but having had some rather average bruschettas in my time, this particular version really stood out. The freshness of the basil and tomato was unmistakable, you could almost taste the soil. But not in a gross way…
The ideology behind both the restaurant and the marketplace is to embrace the fresh fruit and vegetable culture of European countries like Italy and France where the flavour is on a completely different level to our plastic coated chain store vegetables. The tomato and basil truly tasted like something you would eat in rural Italy and were incomparable to the bland, watered down supermarket versions.
Lastly we pigged out on some Pepe Saya buttermilk pancakes with Willowbrae goats curd and Hawkesbury Honey. By this point I was pretty damn full but I still managed to down two of these picturesque beauties. The pancakes themselves were beautiful and soft and carried a hint of the richly flavoured butter. The goat’s cheese was the perfect accompaniment to the rich pancakes and made the dish feel more healthful than indulgent. They were topped off with outrageously fresh berries and raw organic honey for some extra sweetness.
After breakfast we browsed through the vibrant and abundant marketplace and I was delighted to be reconnected with the produce we had just eaten. Seeing the piles of fresh seasonal produce was extremely reminiscent of a European marketplace where the quality and freshness of the food is paramount. Looking at all this fresh locally sourced produce made me feel a bit ashamed at the wilting lettuce and plastic bag of carrots currently perishing in my crisper. I’ve been having trouble incorporating enough vegetables into my diet lately and staring at this colourful display I suddenly realised why. It’s easy to feel enthusiastic about eating vegetables that are fresh from the ground and full of colour, flavour and the irregularity and imperfections that characterise real fruit and vegetables.
The vegetables we buy at the supermarket which have been tampered with from their very inception are characterised by an unmistakable blandness that render them inherently less appealing. We are so used to having every fruit and vegetable available at any time of the year that many people don’t appreciate the value of fresh seasonal produce.
Rushcutters provides an alternative to the processed and unnatural food we have all become accustomed to eating and provides an opportunity to dine on food which is bursting with natural flavour rather than drenched in seasoning. And now it allows its customers to enjoy this health and simplicity in their own homes.
10 Neild Avenue, Rushcutters Bay
Phone: (02) 8070 2424
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Rushcutters