On the pass: O Tama Carey, Berta

Author: John Hannan
Photography: Nick Cubbin

What's cooking right now at Berta, Tama?
I'm all about using fresh produce and working with what's in season, so I often write my menus just a day or two beforehand. You can't go past slow braises, meatballs and porchetta for winter, though. Berta is cosy and dark and I think that's why I like to indulge in the heavier side of dishes where I can.

Do you have a favourite winter comfort dish?
I've got a special fondness for soft polenta. It goes with everything, especially slow braises and anything that's been on the burners or on the heat a long time to make it tender and soft. I love slow-cooking because it's so easy and simple. All you have to do is get your main ingredients and put them in the oven and get on with doing your own thing.

What will we find you cooking for lunch on a cold winter's Sunday?
Oh, I'd definitely say a crab curry. It's my go-to entertainment dish. It's a Sri Lankan dish full of spice, fennel and plenty of star anise. It's a real crowd-pleaser and the aroma fills the entire house. You know when you arrive for lunch that you're in for a warming treat - you can smell it.

Yours is a two-chef household; who washes up?
That would have to be me. Definitely me.

Berta, 17-19 Alberta St, Sydney, NSW, (02) 9264 6133.

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