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FOOD & DRINK

'Cartilage' Is the New Recipe Journal Letting You Recreate Dishes from Sydney's Best Restaurants

Whip up a famed Mary's burger, a Tio's margarita and that custard tart from Saint Peter's at home — and help support the venues at the same time.
By Cordelia Williamson
June 18, 2020
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'Cartilage' Is the New Recipe Journal Letting You Recreate Dishes from Sydney's Best Restaurants

Whip up a famed Mary's burger, a Tio's margarita and that custard tart from Saint Peter's at home — and help support the venues at the same time.
By Cordelia Williamson
June 18, 2020
  shares

You've, no doubt, already visited your favourite Sydney spot for a drink or meal since the city's COVID-19 restrictions eased. And, after months of baking bread and getting cocktails delivered to our doors, we don't blame you. It's nice to be able to catch up with mates over a pint or a feed that's outside of our own four walls. But, if all that cooking during iso turned into a passion, why not continue experimenting in your kitchen — and support local hospitality venues at the same time? Thanks to new online recipe journal initiative Cartilage you now can.

It's no secret the hospo industry was hit hard when COVID-19 came to town, with Aussie website I Lost My Hospo Shift recording over $2 million in lost wages this week alone. Now that many restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes have reopened, life is slowly starting to go back to normal — but Sydney's dining scene is still a far cry from what it was pre-pandemic.

On top of the current capacity limits and some venues experiencing no shows, many are still recovering from months of damage. So, three local legends — restaurant critic and former chef David Matthews, illustrator behind Good Food Crap Drawing Anna Vu and waiter-turned-animator James Lark — created Cartilage, which not only gives you the recipes for some of the city's most-loved dishes and drinks, but also gives back financially to venues, too. It's a win-win.

Golden Century's fried rice

"With all three of us having been so close to restaurants, we know that, often, if you have a bad few weeks that could mean the end of your business," Matthews told Concrete Playground. "So, we saw Cartilage as a way to support all the places we love."

Each online recipe journal comes with three full recipes (and a small bonus one) from a local restaurant, bar or cafe, as well as annotations, illustrations, sketches and scribbles. They cost $15 each, with a tenner from every purchase going directly back to the venue. You'll find recipe collections from go-to Sydney eateries such as Mary's, Golden Century, Lankan Filling Station, Saint Peter, Ho Jiak, The Old Fitz and Pioik Bakery, plus bars including Tio's and Earl's Juke Joint. To see them all, head on over to the Cartilage website, where the journals are available to download immediately.

The recipes focus on the venues' signature dishes and drinks, so expect to be recreating the likes of Mary's famed burger, fried chicken and mash 'n' gravy; Golden Century's Yang Chow fried rice, Mongolian lamb and salt and pepper squid; Saint Peter's fish and chips, sardine pissaladière and custard tart; and Tio's classic margarita, guac and popcorn chilli spice.

Tio's guac  

At the moment, Cartilage features 18 hospo heavyweights across six Sydney suburbs — Newtown, Haymarket, Surry Hills, East Sydney, Paddington and Pyrmont — with hopes for more suburbs and cities in the not-too-distant future.

"Haymarket was one of the suburbs we really wanted to have, because Chinatown and Haymarket really suffered in the early days of COVID," says Matthews. "To support places like Boon Cafe and Ho Jiak, which had just opened a new restaurant and then had to shut their doors, and the guys at Golden Century, who have been going for 30 years and had such a drop off — those places were the priority for us."

A modern take on the recipe cards of yesteryear, Cartilage's journals are designed to be simple and straightforward to use. Plus, each recipe has been selected with home-style cooking in mind, so even if you're a bit of a novice in the kitchen, you should be able to whip something up without too much hassle.

"We didn't want it to be super fancy. We want people to be able to cook it at home," says Matthews. "I think everybody involved saw it as something fun that they could do, which was the tone we're going for. We didn't want it to be too serious — there's enough very serious things going on right now."

Cartilage recipe journals cost $15 and are available to download from the website.

Published on June 18, 2020 by Cordelia Williamson

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