Diners love a little extra something for tasty pouring, dunking or smearing. That’s why the often-overlooked sauce-on-the-side is currently enjoying time in the spotlight. Rather than just sticking with the classics, Chefs are finding new ways to bring their sauces up to date, pack them full of flavour and make them work harder. From a bang-on-trend savoury jam, to a bespoke choice of cracking steak sauces, the word is out, and sauces are getting serious.
This Sauce-Shake-Up is illustrated perfectly at Jock Zonfrillo’s Bistro Blackwood in Adelaide, where the fermented chilli served blasts their crispy prawn roti dish out of the water. And the simple addition of dijon mustard to Morgan McGlone’s mayo in the Belles Hot Chicken slaw in Sydney and Melbourne takes that humble side to a new place.
It may be as simple as a tweak to a burger as Mary’s duo Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham revealed when they told the world the secret ingredient to their special sauce. “We take a base mayo, which we make ourselves, trick it out with some mustard, ketchup and pickles but the key is garlic and onion powder. A bit of that and it's like magic dust,” says Jake.
The XO sauce from Sydney’s Golden Century is so famous that they have named their new restaurant, XOPP, after the dried prawn, chilli and ham condiment that is usually slathered on pippies.
At Lord of the Fries, they relish their sauces. One of the biggest decisions patrons make, when ordering at the vegetarian chain, is whether to add classic Tomato Sauce and Vinegar or opt for something more exotic like their Indian Mango Chutney, Malaysian, Mexican or Canadian to go with their famous fries and sides. After customers pick their sauce – which range from $1.50-$3 – all they need to do is to decide whether they want to smother the fries and sides in it or have it on the side for dipping.
Sexy sauces are great for adding a bit of extra excitement and perceived value to an existing dish. By offering a choice of sauces or condiments when ordering a dish, patrons feel that they can add their own spin. So why not up the ante by going all out on a range of creative, unexpected offerings that can turn any dish into the exotic. Plus it can add a good little top up in the till!
For steak and meat focused menus, house made savoury jams are emerging as the hottest indulgent addition. With mouth watering flavour combos such as bourbon and bacon, chilli-peach, or a classic summer tomato and basil, just a smear can take your sirloin to new heights.
• Try a Thai chilli lime mayo on a blue swimmer crab salad, a decadent chart topper for just a little extra effort.
• Infuse a hit of Java by using Sambal Olek, the spicy chilli sauce which can pretty much lift anything from roast chicken to deep fried bar snacks.
• Chefs are adding an Italian pacquiao pepper pesto to beef sausages and skirt steak
• Add a Spanish spin with Romesco sauce on a grilled seafood platter.
• Bar snack heaven starts with yellow curry chicken wings dipped into house made tomato or mango chutney.
• For native flavour, a blob of Aussie bush tomato chutney goes great on a charcuterie board.
For Chefs who want to go one step further, blending sauces into a dish, as well as offering them as standalones, is a way for their venue to stand out. An exceptional sauce can lift an average bar snack into the stratosphere.
• Create green curry sausage rolls from scratch then add yoghurt dipping sauce
• Make pastry cigars with a red curry duck inside to blow your diners away
• For big flavour, add a little Mexican hot sauce to your bechamel or some salsa picante to elevate the classic mac ’n’ cheese.
• Create an exciting Vietnamese spin by using green chilli sauce and chopped prawns in deep fried rice paper rolls or in spring rolls.
• Add extra punch with Chinese Kung Pao sauce into a chicken pie.
The possibilities for creativity and innovation are endless, so get the sauces splashing, put those ramekins to good use and watch your favourite dishes soar to the next level.