Santa Has Come Early: Nel Is Bringing Back Its 11-Course Christmas-Themed Degustation for 2023

This year, the Sydney restaurant is paying tribute to Christmas traditions, complete with mini crab crumpets, nanna's potatoes and a festive Danish dessert.
Sarah Ward and Ben Hansen
Published on October 27, 2023

There's no such thing as an ordinary dish to chef Nelly Robinson, namesake of and driving force behind Sydney restaurant NEL, as his degustation menus keep demonstrating. KFCLamingtonsFrench onion soupPots of honey? They can all be given a fine-dining twist, and have. And if it can work for Moulin Rouge! and Paddington Bear, it can work for Christmas.

Nel is no stranger to Christmas spreads, but it is celebrating 2023's jolliest time of year with a specific range of treats. The new menu takes its cues from the traditional story of Christmas. It's also filled with festive culinary traditions, but not as you know them — from roast spuds to Christmas Day seafood.

Nel's chef and namesake Nelly Robinson has found 11 ways to interpret Christmas food staples from around the world while still giving them his usual creative spin.

Available from Tuesday, November 14–Saturday, December 23, the Surry Hills institution's new Christmas degustation features a Nel take on seafood blinis featuring crab salad and flowers on mini crumpets, a black charcoal crumbed sausage in the shape of a star that's paired with curry sauce, and a delicate rendition of silly season carbs called Nanna's Potatoes.

There are also dishes named after Love Actually, 'O Christmas Tree' and 'Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer' — we can all imagine what that one might be.

Rounding out the menu is a reinvention of the traditional Danish Christmas dessert risalamande. In Denmark, a whole almond is often hidden in rice pudding, with anyone who finds it given a prize. In Robinson's version, there's just big flavours instead, with the dessert starring a vanilla rice pudding foam, amaretto ice cream, and an almond, cinnamon and wild rice granola.

There are plenty more surprises to be discovered across the 11 courses, plus diners can also opt for a selection of wines meticulously paired with the dishes by the restaurant's head sommelier.

Sydneysiders can tuck in for $185 per person, with another $155 each on top for the classic wine pairing or an additional $185 for the premium wine journey. Or, there's a non-alcoholic matching drinks selection for $85 per head.

Nel will also be opening for lunch on Saturdays in November, and Friday and Saturdays in December, to give diners extra options.

Nel's 2023 Christmas degustation is on offer from Tuesday, November 14–Saturday, December 23 at 75 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney. For more information or to book, head to the Nel website.

Published on October 27, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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