Supercharge your cooking with these restaurant condiments

Published on 29 July 2020

Photo: Golden Grocer sells condiments from restaurants including Hanoi Hannah (credit: Jake Ellis)

This year you’ve probably cooked more than you ever have in your life. Whether you’re creating work-from-home lunches, feeding small mouths that are usually at school or using newfound time at home to master new recipes, those are some serious hours stove-side. And all that time in the kitchen can start to tax your reserves of inspiration. But with curry pastes, punchy XO sauces, ferments and condiments galore now available from some of Melbourne’s favourite restaurants, your dishes are about to get a serious dose of flavour, with minimal effort on your part.

Entrecote’s green sauce

The bright-green accompaniment to Entrecote’s steaks has quite the following around town. Sure, you could order always a steak to go if you were really missing it. But, as of last week, being able to get your hands on a pouch of the sauce to keep in the fridge at all times is definitely a win in the Lockdown vs Melbourne showdown. Great with grilled fish or some roasted vegetables (as well as steak, obviously), the green sauce is available through new online grocer, Co-Lab Pantry, which sells products from some of Melbourne’s best-loved restaurants including Tuck Shop Take Away’s jalapeño hot sauce, pasta by Lello, Piccolina sauces for your sweet-tooth and condiments from Fancy Hank’s.

Order online at colabpantry.com.au. Available for delivery nation-wide.

Sunda’s Vegemite curry and more

Anyone who’s dipped a roti in the Vegemite curry at Sunda will tell you it’s a game-changer. And when there’s a jar in your pantry, there are no rules. Have it with eggs, add it to a jaffle or slather it on hot toast – you can even use it as the base for a curry. The good news is there’s plenty more condiment fun where that came from. Fermented sambal, XO sauce and lemongrass sate are now available from Sunda’s take-home arm, EXP. Or if you want to really turbocharge your cooking, buy the Pantry EXP set: 10 bangin’ pastes, salts and vinaigrettes that should keep boredom at bay in your kitchen.

Order online. Available for pick-up Tues-Sun, noon-7pm at Hotel Windsor concierge, 111 Spring St, Melbourne or delivery within 15km radius of the CBD. Delivery starts at $15.

Lee Ho Fook’s eggplant sauce

Yes, it’s that sauce. The one that coats the slender fingers of fried eggplant in Lee Ho Fook’s signature dish, on the menu since day one. “Best friends with all things crispy”, according to the website, the spiced red vinegar sauce is so moreish, we reckon you should stock up on two bottles. And if you’re a fan of chef Victor Liong’s XO, used in the fried rice and prawn noodles at the restaurant, it’s also available and it ships Australia-wide. Can you think of a better birthday/anniversary/just because gift?

Order online at leehofook.com.au. Available for pick-up Wed-Sat 2pm-4pm at 11-15 Duckboard Pl, Melbourne or delivery within 20 km radius of the CBD.

Neptune’s cacio e pepe sauce and more

Sometimes all you want is a plate of pasta served exactly the way your favourite restaurant does it. Neptune Food and Wine hears your prayers and is working to get you as close to this fantasy as possible. Pick up a bag of dried rigatoni made by the chefs, a jar of the stir-through cacio e pepe sauce and perhaps a couple of bottled Negronis, and recreate that restaurant experience at home. There’s also potato focaccia, or choose from the Napoli sauce or dairy-free pesto if you think you’ve mastered your cacio e pepe technique this lockdown.

Order online at neptune.melbourne for pick-up Tues, Wed and Sat, 5pm-9pm at 212 High St, Windsor or delivery to select suburbs for orders above $30. Delivery starts at $6.

Lagoon’s hot sauce and more

The crew at Lagoon are not only opening up their pantry to you, they’re also throwing a few recipes your way if you get their emails. Case in point: this week's pan-fried Brussels sprouts tossed with the house XO. But, really, the world’s your oyster when you’re armed with Lagoon’s young ginger dressing (vermicelli salad!), spiced salt (roast potatoes!) or the fermented chilli hot sauce (everything!). Go wild.

Order online at lagoondining.com. Available for pick-up Thurs-Sat at 263 Lygon St, Carlton or delivery within 10km radius for orders above $30. Delivery costs $10.

Tipico’s Italian pantry

Does that sandwich need some pickled fennel? Will pesto lift your spirits and remind you of last summer in Italy? Is it burger night at your place and you don’t have time to preserve your own beets? If you answered yes to any of the above, Tipico is at your service. The Italian restaurant in Windsor has offered a selection of pantry staples since April, covering all of the above as well as passata, frozen fresh pasta and giardiniera. Plus you can sign up for gnocchi-making classes every fortnight, with everything you need delivered to your door.

Order online at tipico.melbourne. Available for pick-up Tues-Sat, 4pm-9pm at 242 High St, Windsor or delivery

Hanoi Hannah and co’s sauces

The satay, nuoc mam and chilli jam you know and love from Tokyo Tina and Hanoi Hannah are ready and waiting to amp up your own dishes. Golden Grocer is a new online shop from the Commune Group stable of restaurants, offering tasty things in jars alongside fresh herbs, mushrooms, tofu and other things you might want to add to your wok. Plus there are frozen meals for nights where cooking isn’t on the cards.

Order online at goldengrocer.com.au and pick-up from Hanoi Hannah New Quarter, 79 Swan St, Richmond. Delivery available within 10km radius on orders of more than $70 only.

By Emma Breheny

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