The British Sunday roast tradition was brought by colonists to Australia in the late 18th century. Commonly, it was practiced by putting a roast in to cook before leaving for church, then there would be a hearty meal ready upon arrival home. The somewhat outdated but beloved culinary tradition remains an opportunity for family and friends to get together weekly. Sonnyboy, in NYC‘s LES, opened three months ago and has since become a major landing spot for foodies—many of whom happen to be Australian. We were in attendance at their first Australian Sunday Roast—an ongoing event that involves a four-course meal with wine pairings and is defined by community, laughter, and soulful dishes.
The dinner was done in partnership with September Wines—and featured wines produced by Vintner Mac Forbes that showcased the terroir of Australia’s Strathbogie Ranges and Yarra Valley regions. Beginning with the first course (chicken liver pate with chopped pistachio, parsley, drizzled chili oil and sourdough) was the RS 19 Strathbogie Ranges Riesling 2017. Its subtle minerality and balanced acidity paired well with the richness of the pate—mediated by the salty pistachio and fiery chili oil.
The second course was served with the same winemaker’s 2017 Chardonnay, a clean wine created with a refined sharpness. It was matched with a burrata salad of radicchio, romaine, current agrodolce and a crisp lemon vinaigrette. The wine’s complex flavors of caramel, lily flower, and an herbal note of bay leaf complemented the refreshing crispness of the salad, while the buttery flavors of the wine intensified thanks to the burrata. The salinity of the lemon cuts through this texture of the wine uncovering the tannic hardness of the wine that tingles on the tongue to finish.
The third course—a beef tartare topped with crisp sunchoke shavings, and flavored with orange, zaatar and a tarragon aioli—was served with a 2017 Pinot Noir. The wine offers a lightly rustic overtone with complex carbonic flavors of strawberry, red currants, pink pepper and subtle notes of cinnamon on the end. Sharp acid creates the short-lived finish on the tongue, yielding an ultra-palatable table wine.
The excitement of opening 2017’s “Worri Yallock” Pinot Noir signaled the final course of the dinner. This full-bodied wine offers notes of cigar tobacco, under-ripe cherry, plum and opoponax. Its subtle sweetness carries through smokey spice that paired perfectly with the decadent main course—roast pork with seasonal mushrooms and carrots, tied together with exquisite pork jus. The rich meaty flavors of the pork played with the wine to create a luxurious end to the night.
The restaurant’s mission is to create “an all-day gathering for locals and visitors alike in a vibrant space that serves a seasonally stylish menu but without the fuss.” The focus is on great food and drinks, from morning brunch to late nights at the bar—where the staff is so charming you might be tempted to ask them to join your party. This ambition (evidenced through all of their meals, but Sunday Roast in particular) is helping Sonnyboy to emerge from the acclaim of their sister restaurant, Banter in the West Village.
Images courtesy of Sonnyboy