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Sydney Fine-Diner NEL Is Plating Up Another 11-Course Disney-Inspired Degustation This Winter

An alfredo linguini that nods to 'Ratatouille'? A honey-soaked sponge that Winnie-the-Pooh would covet? Yes, this is a magical meal.
By Sarah Ward
May 11, 2023
By Sarah Ward
May 11, 2023

Back in 2019, Sydney fine-dining institution NEL introduced tastebuds to a whole new culinary world: a decadent Once Upon a Time degustation inspired by all things Disney. Unsurprisingly, it provided a magical meal and proved a massive hit, returning in 2020 and 2022 with themed dishes created by the Surry Hills' restaurant's created by Executive Chef and namesake Nelly Robinson. Come winter 2023, it'll be back again for a fourth chapter.

Amid NEL's creative spreads, this one now feels like a tasty tale as old as time — repeatedly popping up amid KFC-inspired dinners, Moulin Rouge!-themed and Christmas degustations, and one heroing native Australian ingredients as well. But whenever it unleashes its 11 courses upon plates, the Once Upon a Time serves up new and fresh dishes riffing on the Mouse House's favourites. Accordingly, even if you've been before, you haven't feasted your way through the latest menu.

An alfredo linguini that nods to Ratatouille? Yes, that twist on the classic dish — and flick — featuring a lasagne-style structure layered with confit vegetables, pasta sheets, béchamel, mozzarella cheese foam and basil dust is on the lineup. So is The Tugley Wood, which combines mushrooms and fresh Australian truffle to nod to Alice in Wonderland. And when things get sweet, there's a honey-soaked sponge with a nest of honey curd topped with bee pollen, then served in a honey pot, that Winnie-the-Pooh would clearly covet.

As for what else will be bothering your appetite in the best possible way, discovering the full range is part of the fun of heading along — no matter whether you're a Sydneysider with more than a few nights' experience tucking into Robinson's creations or a Disney fan keen to make a date on a future interstate trip.

NEL doesn't need a reason to bring back the Once Upon a Time menu again and again — it was always going to be popular — but Robinson still keeps finding plenty of inspiration in the Disney theme.

"The team and I had a blast creating and curating this one. It was so much fun to create a whole new menu around some of my favourite films and we have carefully crafted dishes to bring out each diners' inner child. Indeed, we paired it with fun cocktails and some sensational wines, too," he explains.

The Once Upon a Time menu's fourth chapter will start serving on Tuesday, May 30 and run for eight weeks only, with bookings available now. Price-wise, this childhood-inspired feast will require an adult salary, costing $185 per person, with beverages matched for an extra $165.

Reserving a spot ASAP for dinner Tuesday–Saturday from 5.15pm is recommended — this unsurprisingly always books out.

Chef Nel. Supplied

NEL's Once Upon A Time (Chapter Four) degustation is on offer for eight weeks from Tuesday, May 30 at 75 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney. For more information or to book, head to the NEL website.

Published on May 11, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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