Words: Maggie Scardifield
Chef Alanna Sapwell’s obsession with beeswax started when she made beeswax-infused chocolate for Valentine’s Day. “It worked perfectly in a cream,” she says. “I love the way the flavour of the wax comes through, but without the usual chewy texture.”
But it’s not chocolate we’re swooning over at Sapwell’s Brisbane restaurant, Arc Dining and Wine Bar, which opened in February. It’s the sides. And the leeks, more than anything.
Sapwell has sourced some of the most beautiful leeks from Suncoast Fresh for this dish. The leek is charred gently under flame, then wrapped in foil so the centre of the vegetable steams slowly. They’re served stalk and all, with a pour-over of beeswax cream, like little charry canoes of velvet and smoke. “It’s nicely balanced,” says Sapwell. “The honey flavour is present without sweetness.”
The leek is one of a handful of side dishes, which includes other inspired veggies such as whey and chamomile carrots. Originally Sapwell had planned for the leek to be a garnish to beeswax-aged hogget, but decided it was hero enough to stand alone on the menu. “They are just as satisfying served solo,” she says. “Simple and tasty.”
Simplicity is a key marker of Sapwell’s cooking. Before she moved to Brisbane to open Arc Dining on the river at the Howard Smith Wharves, she clocked time in Sydney at Saint Peter, as 2IC to chef Josh Niland. It should come as no surprise then, that she’s a big supporter of producers who embrace sustainability. Including Brisbane’s Bee One Third Neighbourhood Honey, for example, who provide the beeswax for this delicious dish.
On that note, perhaps it’s time to attract some flying friends to your own yard? Take a look at our Birds & Bees look for a contemporary spin on the native garden.
Arc Dining and Wine Bar, 5 Boundary St, Brisbane, Qld