Poutine is one of those pesky French words that’s made its way into our cultural lexicon and carries with it the assumption that everyone knows what the hell it is. In fact, this popular French-Canadian dish has been on the Quebec food scene for years, however it’s relatively new to Sydney foodies so don’t feel bad if you don’t know your chicken from your cheesy fries.
Made with French fries and topped with cheese curds and gravy, poutine is mostly considered a fast food or roadside treat. It sounds absolutely disgusting and looks even worse, but oh the taste! The gravy is usually chicken, beef or turkey flavoured with plenty of seasoning—so basically the soul mate of deep fried potatoes. Can you say World’s Best Hangover Food?
Here’s where to get Sydney’s best poutine (or closest thing to it).
If you can tear yourself away from Hartsyard’s iconic fried chicken long enough to explore other dishes, the poutine at this Newtown favourite is definitely worth a look-in. This version comes topped with braised and shredded beef shin and a decadent beer and cheddar sauce. The beef shin gravy is what makes this dish a cut above the rest, with rich flavours of meat, bone, red wine, roasted onions, and tomatoes.
Lord of the Fries
Chip-lovers rejoiced when this popular burger joint opened in Sydney in 2013 because it meant we no longer had to hop a Jetstar flight to Melbourne in order to get us some lush sweet potato fries and Tijuana hotdogs. Lord of the Fries also happens to do poutine rather well, with both a poutine burger stuffed with chips, gravy and a veggie beef patty, as well as cheese and gravy topping available with any of their chip options.
This Canadian-style diner features a stuffed moose head mounted on the wall and a menu promising all your calorific favourites, including a hot dog called “Celine Diog.” It’s no surprise, then, that the poutine here is pretty authentic. Aside from crispy, slightly thicker-cut fries, gravy and cheese, the dish is also topped with everyone’s favourite… bacon. Luckily the booths offer ample privacy from which to loosen your belt or undo your pants altogether.
Sitting pretty in Kirribilli, this cosy little bar is serving up plenty of comfort food in a setting that’s just as snug. The poutine here starts with the decadent hand-cut triple-cooked chips, and are smothered in a short rib gravy with slow cooked beef brisket that will make you weak at the knees. They don’t stop there of course—the cheese curds that top this baby just melt ever so slightly into the hot gravy. Do the chips need it? No. Do we want it? Oh yes.
Such a hyped-up menu of “damn good chicken” and “magic shakes” is the perfect place to feature kimchi poutine and, as it turns out, the tangy flavours of kimchi go rather well with cheesy fries. Well there you go!
And here are a few dishes that aren’t technically poutine, but they’re gravy-soaked fries and they’re delicious so we’ll leave it to you to decide.
Pub Life Kitchen
Ultimo’s newest hipster pub is definitely underselling its “fries and gravy” dish by giving it such a banal name. Think of it as a posher poutine, with delicate French fries and a little tub of gravy for dunking. And hey, if you really miss the curds then feel free to order a side of mac and cheese and make it poutine party.
House of Crabs
The lobster fries upstairs at Redfern pub, The Norfolk are poutine in everything but name, with generous helpings of salty lobster gravy, shards of crispy bacon and roasted corn kernels. Sure there’s no cheese, but did we mention the lobster gravy?
We know that poutine is usually purchased from a roadside diner or late-night chip joint (usually on wheels) in Canada but that’s not to say it can’t be fancied it up a little. And fancy up they did at Manly’s Papi Chulo. Here you’ll find pomme dauphine served with roasted bone marrow and chicken gravy. You can call it poutine, tater tots or whatever, but either way this dish is damn good.
Looking for more gratuitous additions to your fries? Check out these loaded fries!
Image credit: Chicken Institute