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GT's best dishes of 2012: Gareth Meyer

1. Slow-cooked beef short rib, braised tendon, black fungus, Neila 
Owner-chef Anna Wong always conjures something special from the cheaper cuts. In this case, beef short rib (not to mention tendon) is beautifully transformed by six hours of poaching in a master stock of ginger, garlic, star anise, onion, Shaoxing wine, coriander, cinnamon, and beef stock (pictured left). Neila, 5 Kendal St, Cowra, NSW, (02) 6341 2188

2. Cotechino sausage, lentils, sauce gribiche, Pulp Kitchen
Now this is pork with personality. The house-made sausage is uncompromisingly earthy, salty, and (for want of a better term) porky. The creamy and herbaceous sauce gribiche is a perfect foil. Pulp Kitchen, shop 1, Wakefield Gardens, Ainslie, ACT, (02) 6257 4334

3. Black pudding, smoked tomato and parsley salad, Cumulus Inc.
Even for boudin noir agnostics, this long-time Cumulus favourite dish will induce a moment of (welcome) epiphany. The rich clove and allspice laced pudding is deftly balanced by smoked tomato and a punchy parsley and red onion salad. Cumulus Inc., 45 Flinders La, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9650 1445

4. Tart of truffled pecorino with pear purée, roasted hazelnut and saba, Dieci e Mezzo
With the unfortunate demise of Canberra's Dieci e Mezzo this spring, this lovely dish from chef Adam Bantock may well go the way of the dodo. Served as part of the Canberra truffle festival dinner, it represented a skilful interplay of bitter, sweet, salt, crunch and cream.

5. Sichuan-braised eggplant, rice noodle, minced pork, Golden Fields
It's a more-ish urban take on a classic regional Chinese dish: gooey eggplant, wobbly and soft rice noodle, and pork morsels bound by a sauce that perfectly harnesses the power of Sichuan pepper. Golden Fields, 2/157 Fitzroy Rd, St Kilda, Vic, (03) 9525 4488

6. Slow-cooked short rib, blackened eggplant, Momofuku Seiobo
A testament to the transformative power of 48 hours of slow, temperature-controlled cooking. Momofuku Seiobo, The Star, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont, NSW, (02) 9777 9000 
7. Gnocchi, cauliflower purée, pangrattato, A Tavola
Cauliflower rarely knows these heights. Slow-cooked and puréed, it beautifully coats light-as-feather gnocchi - while fried florets add crunch. A Tavola, 348 Victoria St, Darlinghurst, NSW, (02) 9331 7871
8. Whiting, squid and chorizo, Aubergine
Sand whiting and squid are afforded a gentle treatment in this ship-to-shore number, but it's the inspired addition of smoked rice that seals the deal. Aubergine, 18 Barker St, Griffith, ACT, (02) 6260 8666

9. Beef brisket, fried bread and pickles, 4Fourteen
Few do slow cooking as well as Colin Fassnidge. The brisket in question here is beautifully braised in a master stock till the strands of meat and fat separate with the merest prod of a fork. Fried bread does double-duty, first offering contrasting crunch then helping soak up juices. 4Fourteen, 414 Bourke St, Surry Hills, NSW, (02) 9331 5399

10. Beef short rib, maple, soy, turnip, pearl onion, parsley root, Sage Dining Rooms
Sage's evolution into a fine diner is seldom more evident than in this dish. A juicy pink beef short rib glazed in maple and soy sauce. Parsley root takes the form of a sponge cake, pearl onion is blackened, and turnip puréed and dotted across the plate. Sage Dining RoomsGorman House Arts Centre, Batman St, Braddon, ACT, (02) 6249 6050


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