Subo, Newcastle West

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I love my job, particularly at the moment with so many new eating places opening.

Small, but perfectly formed, Subo is a real labour of love for husband and wife, Beau and Suzy Vincent. Beau is just one more in a growing number of highly credentialed chefs who have decided to bring a little bit of magic

to our harbour city.

It’s only been open a couple of weeks but word is getting around and until the courtyard eating area is finished it’s going to get harder to get one of the 16 or so covers in the dining room. Don’t tell anyone, but they do a full a la carte menu at Sunday lunch; for my money, a real winner.

And so is the menu. Individual items intrigue; horseradish snow, yuzu dressing, blackened corn, hay veloute´ , almond foam, lovage, vanilla crustacean oil. Suzy, a trained chef, is there to explain. Everything is made from

scratch where possible; yuzu is a Japanese citrus-like fruit; and the herbs are straight from the owner’s garden.

A generous mound of sweet blue swimmer crab lurks below a shower of finely shaved baby zucchini and zucchini flower petals. A dusting of pure white is revealed as freezedried horseradish, adding its bite to the

perfumed tones of the vanilla and crustacean infused oil that finishes the dish. There’s flavour in spades, but texture as well; a theme that continues with every dish.

The croutons that provide crunch and a slight sweetness for the in-house smoked salmon come from house-made brioche. Sweetly unctuous pea puree is a startlingly green backdrop to the vibrant pink salmon but a perfect flavour match. Tangy yuzu dressing brings a sour balance and the salt component is from glistening black Avruga pearls, the caviar substitute favoured by chefs concerned for the endangered sturgeon.

The vegetarian main will tempt the most entrenched carnivore. Nutty flavoured Jerusalem artichokes are slow-roasted and golden. I perceive a subtle nod to the ‘‘nose to tail’’ philosophy used with meat, in that the skin of the artichoke is also used – finely pared and turned into a crisp ‘‘pastry’’. Toasted almond foam forms a veil that disintegrates when the dish is attacked but leaves its nutty taste. Tender young silverbeet leaves bring more earthy notes.

If meat is what you crave you can’t go past the slow-braised, then roasted short rib. The meat falls apart under the fork; tiny beetroot, their hollowed centres filled with smoky paprika mayonnaise, golden and black

heirloom carrots and wafer-thin potato crisps complete the picture. There is just enough Fosterton Farm Bakery sourdough left to get every last drop of jus.

Trio of strawberries is a textural and flavour celebration. The fruit is presented three ways; as a jelly, macerated, and dehydrated to produce a dust, with puffs of pistachio sponge and a quenelle of creme fraiche ice-cream completing the picture; a perfect punctuation

mark to end a lovely meal.

Don’t wait. This place will not remain undiscovered for long. And the name? Su for Suzy, bo for Beau; it’s as simple as that.

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