Think of black truffles, and Western Australia might not come to mind. However, there is a burgeoning 15-year-old Australian truffle market – and this is being celebrated in a five-course Aussie Truffle Menu (£60) at Australasian restaurant Dickie Fitz in London’s Fitzrovia, from now until the end of August.
The meal begins with a Sweet As cocktail – a gin-based aperitif with Japanese nashi pear and truffle honey topped with soda – served with snacks including truffle buns and popcorn. Grilled salad with truffled egg and cheese dressing kicks off the edible delights and up next is kangaroo tataki, served lightly seared. “Kangaroo is the leanest form of red meat, leaner than venison, but not as gamey,” says Dickie Fitz executive chef Matt Robinson. For those who balk at eating Skippy, there’s steamed brill with yabbies, a native Australian crustacean (sourced in the UK to be as fresh as possible), followed by a black truffle, celeriac, pear and honey pudding.
“The Australian truffle season runs from June to the end of August,” explains Robinson. “The truffles are dug up on Thursday morning, immediately flown from Perth to Heathrow and delivered to the restaurant first thing Saturday morning.” The menu is also a wonderful opportunity to experience truffles with a summer menu rather than find them tucked away in heavier, wintery dishes.
So what is the difference between Australian and European truffles? “It’s hard to compare them as they are never available at the same time, and being from Sydney I am biased,” Robinson continues. “But when the Australian ones arrive in the kitchen, the aroma and flavour is comparable, if not better.” Said like a true Aussie.