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The duck-liver trinity

Our Lipsmacking series reaches Sydney, where Jo Lennan picks a crowd-pulling pâté

Jo Lennan | July/August 2013

Depending on how it’s done, pâté can be sited anywhere in the culinary kingdom between foie gras and its kinder rustic cousin, crostini. This duck-liver version lives right by Bondi Beach. At least, it does some of the time. The restaurant is Sean’s Panaromano, it’s not a misprinta one-room diner where the menu changes daily. Its chef, Sean Moran, has to make sure the pâté is often there, because it’s become something of a cult.

The livers in question come from the Macleay, a green valley half way between Sydney and Brisbane. Moran makes them shine, quite literally. The pâté is served in a generous scoop, with the shape and sheen of gelato. Making up the trinity is a glistening maroon dollop of caramelised onions, and several nuggets of crusty bread. So how does it go down? Smoothly. It seems to glide. The notes are rich: liver and butter, with extra depth from something else. Moran, it turns out, sears each liver with pancetta: "You get that pan-fried flavour. Jewish regulars say, 'Don’t tell me. It’s fine if I don’t know'." Now add the pulled bread—"pulled" because it has been excavated from the inside of a loaf, then oven-browned. Drizzled with olive oil, the flavour light and fruity, each bite has a satisfying crunch. Finally, pile on the onions. They’re dotted with plump, tempting currants, like pheasant bait set by poachers. The taste is sweet and tangy, an agrodolce burst that works to set off the richness of the pâté.

When it’s done, what’s left? Olive-oily fingers from tearing at the bread, and an agreeable aftertaste. This dish leaves everything shinierfingers, lips, life. ~ Jo Lennan

A$29; £19 seanspanaroma.com.au

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