The 50th Anniversary Issue

Our 50th birthday issue is on sale now. We're celebrating five decades of great food and travel with our biggest issue yet.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 27th November, 2016 and receive a Villeroy & Boch platter!

Gourmet on your iPad

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad.

Christine Manfield guests at Berta

Christine Manfield and Jamie Irving at Berta, Sydney

Christine Manfield and Jamie Irving at Berta, Sydney

The clock is ticking, Sydney. Christine Manfield has just five more weeks left in her cameo at Berta, and that means just five more Tuesday-night Sagra dinners. On the strength of last night's showing, that means you have just five more chances to get in on one of the best deals you'll see in Australian dining in 2015: a generous four courses from one of the most distinctive chefs of a generation, for just $65.

Under Berta's founding chef O Tama Carey, Berta's Sagra nights gained a cult following for their inventive celebrations of a single ingredient each week, and Manfield, who shares the kitchen with new chef Jamie Irving (pictured), has embraced the tradition.

Though Manfield said she thought choosing eggplant, her favourite ingredient, for her maiden voyage last night was cheating, the army of her fans who marched through the door for the two seatings were rapt.

The antipasti made a very welcome opening salvo, not least the sweet-sour spiced eggplant and peppers stained with turmeric, and focaccia spread with salty eggplant butter.

Pappardelle tossed with a ragù of eggplant and slow-braised duck followed, its duck liver-boosted richness complemented neatly by a nebbiolo grown in Lombardy, and then a fillet of wild kingfish, fat and juicy on a bed of warmly spiced honey and harissa eggplant.

And to close? A clean, crisp pear and ricotta chocolate tart freshened up with yoghurt sorbet, all the more delectable for its pairing with a glass of Piedmontese brachetto.

The challenges presented by the size of the kitchen and brigade were refreshing, Manfield said. "I kept wanting to add another element to the dishes, but had to keep batting my hand away." The result was a winning balance of Berta's trademark restraint and Manfield generosity.

Next week it's the Sagra of Autumn Milks, which will make use of cow, goat's and sheep's milk in curds, whey, cheeses and more. On Tuesday 12 May, Manfield won't be in the kitchen, but Irving will present a menu of grains and greens they've designed together, then on the 19th she's back for quince. The 26 May Sagra will be "going nuts" and then, for the finale of her time at Berta, it's the Sagra of Wild Things (From the Sea).

Manfield will be cooking alongside Irving and sharing duties writing the regular à la carte menus over this period too, of course, but there's something special about these mini-festivals - not least their outstanding value.

As Manfield says with a twinkle in her eye, "See you next Tuesday."

Berta, 17-19 Alberta St, Sydney, (02) 9264 6133


Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Pinbone is opening a new Sydney restaurant
Melbourne’s Rosa’s Kitchen has closed
Hot Plates: Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie, Melbourne
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards are coming to Melbourne and we know where and when
Missy French has closed
Automata’s Clayton Wells is taking over Silvereye
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
things to do this autumn

Whether it's foraging for wild mushrooms in a picturesque Victorian forest or watching a film by moonlight in Darwin, we've got you covered with 20 exciting autumn experiences from around Australia.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

You might also like...

Australian chefs to follow on Instagram in 2013

There are a lot of food shots on Instagram: the good, the ba...

Where our chefs want to eat

We asked Australia's leading chefs to name the restaurants t...

Hot 100 2015 - Restaurant news

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

Grant Achatz interview

Pat Nourse talks to the chef of Chicago’s Alinea ahead of hi...

Nahm named best restaurant in Asia

The 2014 50 Best Restaurants in Asia were unveiled this week...

Restaurants cooking with seaweed

With its complexity in flavour and texture, seaweed is the c...

On the pass

Tell us about Tomahawk’s menu, Ali...

S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015

A mighty fine plate of beef short ribs with roast celery vin...

Dan Barber talks sustainable food

Farm-to-table is a neat catchcry but, argues Dan Barber, one...

Alessandro Pavoni, Ormeggio, Sydney

You’ve just released your first cookbook, a tribute to Lomba...

The 2016 GT Restaurant Guide Top 100

Here's the list of our 2016 Restaurant Guide Top 100. How ma...

First look: 108 at Noma, Copenhagen

Rene Redzepi may be headed to Sydney next month, but he's ba...

Party-starting playlists

Music is a key ingredient that can turn your party from good...

Edible seaweed guide

With its complexity in flavour and texture, seaweed is the c...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.