THE ‘BEST OF BRITISH’ DOWN UNDER
Nelly Robinson created a menu of his Lancashire favourites at his restaurant in Sydney to introduce Australian diners to the best of British
Ribble Valley born chef Nelly Robinson recently paid homage to his homeland with a ‘Best of British’ menu, taking classic dishes from childhood memories and giving them an innovative twist.
The menu at nel. in Sydney, Australia, included dishes such as a potato dab and braised oxtail faggot with a mushroom bread and butter.
Chef Nelly, formerly of Northcote in the Ribble Valley, designed the menu around many of his northern childhood dishes. Satisfying the senses and showcasing the best of British classics, Sydney went crazy for nel.’s British themed menu!
“If there’s one thing the British love, it’s winter feasting and I’m thrilled to be able to offer our guests a true taste of home with dishes never seen on the menu previously.”
“The response has been overwhelming. We’ve really enjoyed educating those not from the UK on the delights of great British food as well as hosting Brits, who have all agreed the menu has brought childhood memories flooding back. We had a lady dine with us recently, who actually cried after eating the kedgeree dish – it reminded her of her mother’s cooking. For the whole team at nel. that really does give us confirmation that we’ve produced food for the heart!”
Opening its doors in 2015, nel. is pioneering a global-infused culinary experience that has set Sydney’s tastebuds alight. Celebrated for his contemporary interpretations of modern dishes inspired by past experiences within Michelin-starred venues in the UK, Nelly’s robust understanding and appreciation of the best seasonal produce is showcased with a constantly changing menu.
The Best of British 10-course tasting menu, was, says Nelly one of the most difficult tasks he and his team has had to confront, as he explains: “Trying to find a balance between being true to the traditions of great British food, whilst at the same time ensuring all the courses didn’t become too heavy and overwhelming, was a huge challenge.”
“Firstly, we took a few weeks to brainstorm on classic dishes that offered a sense of nostalgia. Next, we experimented with each dish – some worked and others didn’t. Some dishes just weren’t able to be reworked and others absolutely sung when they were. For example, the chicken roast dinner with chicken fat espuma (instead of gravy), confit chicken oysters, slow-roast potatoes, a Brussel sprout, onion, salad of crispy cabbage, parsnips and chicken skin (instead of roast vegetables) and carrot purée still maintains all the comforts of a traditional roast but has been reworked into a curiously exciting dish not seen before.”
Outstanding favourites on the meu among nel.’s diners included a potato dab – mash potato with onion, dipped in a Nori-seaweed tempura, caper sauce and a salt and vinegar crumb and the kedgeree which featured three types of rice with a turmeric smoked Murray cod, curried egg yolk, coriander and curry bubble.
A current finalist for Gault & Millau Chef of the Year, Nelly will be heading back to the UK in October to collaborate with Victor and Vinny Yu at Yu restaurant in Cheshire, where he will be cooking a six-course Australasian degustation menu. He also be heading back home to visit the Ribble Valley next year.
Looking forward to returning, Nelly concludes: “I always count myself extremely lucky to have grown up in an area where fresh, quality produce was plentiful. I think however, most importantly with our Best of British menu were my childhood memories. The roast dinner was inspired by my mother, Denise, who would always insist the family sat together for a Sunday roast, whilst fish pie was my father Graham’s favourite meal of the week, and of course, memories of my grandfather drinking a jar and eating pork scratchings at the pub!”