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Persian red lentil soup with tahini, beetroot and fried mint

Lentil soup may not sound like the sexiest of dishes, but rest assured, it's a heart-warmer. We've added warming spices and served the soup with a dollop of garlicky tahini. Thin slivers of shaved raw beetroot add earthiness and texture - the beetroot is also excellent simply grated and served piled on top. The poached egg is optional, but highly recommended.

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"I'd love the recipe for the eggplant dip the wonderful Fatuma Tikuye serves at Blue Nile in Blacktown." - Helena Rosebery, Annandale, NSW REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or write to Fare Exchange, Australian Gourmet Traveller, GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001. Please include the restaurant's name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.

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Maslow's, Naremburn, by night

Beef pelmeni in beetroot dashi

Beef pelmeni in beetroot dashi

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Maslow's, Naremburn, NSW.

The hierarchy of needs established by this latter-day North Shore café favourite goes something like "coffee", then "Mr Pig", its braised pork belly and eggs on a bun breakfast signature. But this delicate balance may have been upset by chef Jack New adding a dinner menu to the Maslow's offer. In its newish Naremburn location (when it first opened in 2014, the café was in Pymble), it now opens Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. And while the vibe is distinctly café-after-dark, the value is strong, and there are some fun ideas on the plate. Chef New plonks a beef dumpling in a splash of roast beetroot dashi, strews it with shreds of the beet and dresses it with sour cream for an uptown take on the classic Russian pelmeni, and works a similar end of the flavour spectrum with a main course of nicely charry Spanish mackerel with baby turnips, new potatoes and buttermilk. But it's by no means all about Europe on this carte, with appearances from the likes of "Korean king prawn" (with watermelon and sesame as an entrée) and silken tofu (fried, with pickled onion and eggplant, and sauced with ponzu) in the mix. Skip back to the Continent for dessert: Comté soufflé with walnuts and grapes is the pick of the bunch. Two courses will cost you $45, three is $60, and corkage is just five bucks a head. Good, clean fun.

Maslow's, 286 Willoughby Rd, Naremburn, NSW.

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