Neil Perry's top 10 restaurant dishes

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30 December 2010
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Last year was full of memorable travel and great meals – at home and abroad. Here, my top 10 restaurant dishes of 2010.

Drunken squab at Flower Drum
17 Market Lane, Melbourne.
+61 3 9662 3655.
www.flower-drum.com
This is one of the world’s great dishes: the delicate taste and firm skin, the flesh deep, rich and meaty. I love chewing it off the bone. I went there with my daughter, Josephine, and we ordered their barbecued squab. Same species, but that time [it was] crisp-skinned and succulent – a quite different flavour and texture. Now I have two favourites. Heaven.

Lasagne at Café Di Stasio
31 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, Melbourne.
+61 3 9525 3999.
www.distasio.com.au 
The mozzarella melts right into the tomato to create a sauce for the layers of wonderfully tender pasta. A must-have.

Suckling pig at Lung King Heen
Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong,
8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong.
+852 3196 8888.
www.fourseasons.com 
This dish is all about great technique: crisp skin with a little steamed bread between the layers of melting flesh. It is crunchy and succulent – what a combination.

Congee at Rockpool
107 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney.
+61 2 9252 1888.
www.rockpool.com
Yes, I know it is my restaurant, but I can’t help it. Executive chef Phil Wood cracked it with this wonderful, Chinese-inspired congee – fried bread, Sichuan peanuts, freshly made chilli oil and lobster... what’s not to love?

Soba noodles at Rakuichi Soba
Annupuri, Niseko, Japan.
+81 0136 58 3170.
The owners wear traditional dress and serve the best noodles ever at this soba restaurant in a small wooden house. I watched as chef/owner Tatsuru Rai made my noodles. Then I devoured a bowl of dark, rich dashi with duck and noodles – so tasty and the perfect texture. I was rubbing my belly in satisfaction as I walked out to the snow-covered road.

Har gow at Tim Ho Wan
2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
+852 2332 2896.
This little, one Michelin-starred place is crazy. Expect queues, but you’ll be rewarded with perfect dim sum. The har gow were the best ever, the prawns crisp and yielding to the bite, the wrapper delicate and tender. This is benchmark stuff. I only wish it were my local.

Chitarra freddi at Osteria Mozza
6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, USA.
+1 323 297 0100.
www.mozza-la.com 
A most amazing dish: the squid ink noodles were cold, the sea urchin creamy, salty and sweet, and the jalapeno chillies gave it mouth warmth – all combining to give great bursts of flavour. Mario Batali, you pasta master!

Razor clam ceviche at Esca
402 West 43rd Street, New York, USA.
+1 212 564 7272.
www.esca-nyc.com 
Another Mario Batali restaurant. I love the pasta here, but chef Dave Pasternack delivers on seafood and the razor clam ceviche is to die for. It’s the first place I head to in NYC.

Date salad at Greenhouse
100 St Georges Terrace, Perth.
+61 8 9481 8333.
www.greenhouseperth.com
Matt Stone is doing simple, delicious food at Greenhouse. Joost Bakker has built a sustainable restaurant and Stone is kicking goals with his straightforward organic approach. I loved his simple salad of blood oranges, navel oranges, dates and witlof perfectly dressed and seasoned. Greenhouse is a world-class idea.

Tofu at Jesse
41 Tianping Road, Xuhui, Shanghai, China.
+86 21 6282 9260.
At least five other dishes from the two meals I had here could have made it onto this list, but I’ll settle for the crab and tofu – a Shanghai classic. The texture and delicate flavour of this dish is so fantastic, it is something I shall never forget. It is now featured on the menus of my Spice Temple restaurants.

See all Neil Perry articles here

Source Qantas The Australian Way January 2011

Neil Perry

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  • I went to Hong Kong a few months ago and ate at Lung King Heen and the suckling pig was the best I'd had. I've tried a lot of places to find the best, and I agree with Neil on this one
  • The comments on Tim Ho Wan are spot on. The place is crowded and simple, the food is wonderful and cheap, and the queue can be very long! We got in once but gave up on a second occasion. Perserverence is definitely a virtue.

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