Sidart culinary guru Sid Sahrawat cooks up a different storm every day in his aptly named Test Kitchen in Auckland's Ponsonby. Diners are given an envelope containing a list of ingredients and what follows is eight courses designed with those in mind. To keep everyone on their toes, the goalposts shift every week. We asked him to put his magic to work creating a special Idealog dish just for us, and you can find that recipe – asparagus, pear, and raspberry salad – here.
What’s the Test Kitchen idea all about?
We’re the only restaurant in New Zealand, as far as we know, that changes its menu weekly. Not that there is a menu, of course! The Test Kitchen concept means diners don’t see a tasting menu and don’t know what they’re getting, and we change what we serve every week. It’s the creativity and sense of adventure brought to the dining room at Sidart that helps us stand out. We’re trying new things constantly – the weekly Test Kitchen demands it. That means using different ingredients each week, trying out new food techniques, trends, or flavour combinations. It can be hard coming up with new ideas all the time, but we love the challenge.
Why did you use these particular foods and flavours for our Idealog dish?
This dish was the first course for diners at one of our recent Test Kitchens, so it was the initial unexpected, exciting taste of what’s to come. The dish has fresh and clean flavours but the flavour combination is also unique,
with the sweet components complementing the savoury. This all represents Idealog to me. What’s the first dish you ever remember cooking? I tried making a fruit cake, which turned out to be a disaster.
What’s the best flavour combination ever, in your book?
Mushrooms and truffle is one of my favourite flavour combinations and I use it regularly in my dishes at Sidart. And the best restaurant you’ve ever been to (apart from your own, of course!)? Attica in Melbourne. I have great respect for chef Ben Shewry.