Awarded by Ginny Grant, Food Writer & Senior Food Writer Cuisine Magazine
For fun, casual dining with a dash of flair then Culprit is where you want to be. Upstairs in a giant loft of a space, chef owners Kyle Street and Jordan MacDonald make food that shows off their love of modern dining. Using locally sourced food with impeccable pedigree, they make full use of secondary meat cuts and provide a trolley service of yum cha small dishes that punch a whole lot of flavour. While the menu is ever changing there are always local oysters to be had, a market fish sashimi, and the ever wonderful warm donuts and chicken liver parfait.
Duck, lamb and pork are mainstays in the larger plates, but my favourite dish is only available in winter, and it’s a side dish. Plenty of you reading this will recoil in horror at the thought of Brussel sprouts with visions of mushy bitterness. But these have been known to change the mind of even the most ardent sprout hater. The wonderfully named Burnt Brussel Sprouts are dark fried in duck fat to an almost uniform black and edging towards the point of blackened no return. But that dark char delivers a crisp crunch while the inner leaves remain soft, tender and creamy for a delightful counterpoint. The dressings change (think smoked paprika, bay leaves and red wine vinegar, or buttermilk ranch) but there is always a good hint of acidity to counter the richness of the tasty morsels.