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Josh Booker (ex The Boathouse, Balmoral) has created a food offering at the revamped Jackie’s Cafe in Paddington, Sydney, which has a strong emphasis on seasonal fresh food reminiscent of his days growing up on a farm near Byron Bay. 

With experience at Merivale’s Sydney CBD venues establishment, Ivy and Slip Inn, as well as popular Byron restaurant Dish, Booker has created an enticing breakfast menu which includes a salad bowl of raw seasonal green vegetables.

Wonders with raw or freshly cooked fish

Raw or just cooked fish also features in mains salads, including a sashimi salad plus a marinated tuna poke bowl with avocado, snow pea shoots and shaved nori. The highlight, though, is Jackies Salad, named in honor of the venue’s late founder and Sydney cafe identity Jackie Milijash, which combines watercress, cucumber and carrot with salmon tataki.

Japanese twist to thrill taste buds

“The Jackies Salad is Tasmanian salmon coated in a Japanese chilli powder and lightly seared, chilled and thinly sliced. The salad itself is made from ‘foraged’ upland watercress from Terrey Hills, carrot, pickled ginger and dressed with a light soy sesame dressing and dried shiso leaves. It’s topped with wasabi mayonnaise and chives,” says Booker. 

Organic and locally sourced

“I always strive to use locally-sourced organic ingredients, where possible, and just let the ingredients speak for themselves. My philosophy is that the farmers and the producers are the true heroes and I am just the matchmaker.”

Here are 6 equally impressive standout pub salads

NSW

East Village, Darlinghurst

Anyone would be bowled over by the salads at The East Village. There are on-trend bowls such as raw salmon poke with pickled cucumber, edamame, wild rice, avocado and sriracha, a burrito bowl of chipotle chicken, guacamole, black beans, brown rice, sour cream, shredded iceberg, grilled corn and coriander. Asian flavours include soba noodle salad with baby corn, cured cucumber, silken tofu, shiso, chilli and shallot, soy and citrus dressing or the warmer climate of North Africa in a Moroccan-influenced salad of spiced chicken, cucumber, roasted peppers, black grains, iceberg lettuce and mint.

The Newport, Newport

The Shack is just one of four food “stations” at Justin Hemmes Newport pub on Sydney’s Northern Beaches where the salads range from the distinctly American influenced kipfler potato salad with bacon, shallots, capers, watercress and ranch dressing and cobb salad of shredded chicken, vine tomatoes, bacon, chopped salad greens, croutons and boiled egg, to a ramped up Greek salad featuring vine tomatoes, cucumbers, oregano, red onion and feta with a black olive dust. Not forgetting the feelgood factor for far Northern Beaches vegetarian folk there is also a black quinoa salad with roasted zucchini, rocket, almonds, goat’s curd and preserved lemon dressing. 

The Unicorn, Surry Hills, Sydney

Roast pumpkin and cabbage salad with blue cheese or roast cauliflower salad with lentils, tarragon, mint and yoghurt. If you want to make it meatier, then they offer the option of chicken or prawns to any salad dish.

VIC

Foresters, Collingwood

In a place where black and white is usually king, the punters here are backing team green with a broccoli and ancient grain salad which comes with paleo-friendly kale and almonds.

The Palace, South Melbourne

We like the sound of seaside calamari salad with roquette, fennel, cherry tomatoes and capers at this classic bayside pub or indeed their mash-up of Moroccan lamb with the more Greek tweaks of spinach, pumpkin, pine nuts, feta and tatziki.

QLD

Beach House Bar & Grill, various, Queensland

This popular group of venues in the Sunshine State offers an array of full-throttle salads including one with asparagus, beetroot and feta, snow peas, walnuts, slaw, red onion and mint yoghurt dressing. Then there is broccolini with semi-dried tomato, avocado, snow peas, pine nuts, parsley, sweet chilli, red onion and honey mustard dressing. 

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