Winter at Bar Brosé in Sydney is coming up Hungarian, with Adam Wolfers offering punters a taste of his Eastern European Jewish heritage over a two-month stint that kicks off on Wednesday.
Ételek, which means "food" in Hungarian, will feature a menu comprised entirely of new dishes, with the exception of the matzo ball soup that proved such a hit at the recent Jewish pop-up Wolfers staged at Casoni in Darlinghurst after he left the head chef position at Yellow. There'll be schnitzel, pastrami and strudel, but not as you know them. Instead, Wolfers wants to take Sydney diners where they've never been before.
"People definitely know about Eastern European food," he says, "but no one really touches it in a modern way."
Dishes at Ételek will show off Wolfers' Jewish and Eastern European heritage.
Cue the meat-free schnitzel, using thyme and bay-roasted parsnips pressed into "fillets" and dipped in buttermilk and sourdough breadcrumbs before being pan fried. Wolfers describes it as a "Yellow take on a Wiener schnitzel", drawing on his experience at the Potts Point restaurant that went vegetarian in 2016.
Close to half the Ételek menu leans heavily on the plant kingdom, with the likes of kimchi-esque fermented pumpkin paired with bush tomato and nokedli (the Hungarian relative of spätzle), and pierogi that use turnip rather than dough to encase a celeriac and native lime filling.
Gefilte fish turns the Jewish classic on its head, with Wolfers pushing the traditionally cold dish into fishcake territory and serving it hot with an almond paste, red horseradish and salted beetroot. In another unorthodox move, the house-made brisket pastrami is finished briefly on the charcoal grill, winding up closer to a steak.
Carnivores will also appreciate the "Meat and Zaft", a mushroom broth served with bone marrow and challah that's meant to be loaded up with the goods rather than dipped.
"All the dishes are good for this time of year," Wolfers says. "It's Eastern European comfort food."
Co-owner Ed Loveday has created a cocktail list to match the new menu, while Bar Brosé's sommelier, Sarah Devine, is sourcing certified kosher Australian wines and a Tokaji to pair with dessert.
Marc Dempsey, Wolfers' front-of-house partner in crime at both Yellow and Casoni, will be on the floor.
Dempsey and Wolfers' takeover comes after the departure of Brosé's head chef Analiese Gregory for the top job at Hobart's Franklin. While it might be brief, repeat visits will be rewarded - Wolfers says he's got plenty more tricks up his sleeve.
Ételek at Bar Brosé will run from 28 June to 27 August.
Bar Brosé, 231a Victoria St, Darlinghurst, NSW, 0450 307 117, barbrose.com.au. Open Wed-Thurs and Sun 6pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-midnight.
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