The biggest rivalry in Rugby League is approaching, with the Holden State of Origin starting on May 27th. The annual "best-of-three" challenge is some of the most exciting footy you'll see in 2015 and the atmosphere on game nights is huge. No matter where you are – at the game, out for dinner or at home, no matter who you are cheering for, NSW or Queensland, the State of Origin is worth celebrating in style. And what better way to do that than with these food ideas…
Going to the game is by far the most exciting way to celebrate the State of Origin and it doesn't have to mean an evening full of meat pies and Chiko rolls. Why not combine dinner and the game, with some great nearby restaurants?
Where to eat: Sicilian, Parramatta
Sicilian restaurant is a true icon of Parramatta and sets a lively scene on game night. With seating for up to 350 people, there's plenty of room for everyone and diners can enjoy authentic wood fired pizzas and large portion sizes.
Sicilian food, in essence, is simple, and freshness and flavour are the keys. Just a 15-minute drive from the ANZ stadium, it's the perfect partner to the State of Origin.
Where to eat: Botherambo, Richmond
Botherambo will take you on a culinary adventure that will entice the taste buds and add some extra excitement to the second game in the three-game competition. Using locally sourced ingredients, Botherambo is a local's favourite and offers a large range of Asian dishes.
Where to eat: Reserve Restaurant, Milton
Housed in the heritage-listed Cook Terrace Building on the corner of Coronation Drive and Park Road, Reserve Restaurant offers relaxed dining in an elegant setting. Serving contemporary European cuisine near the heart of the action, it adds a 'fancy' element to footy night.
You don't have to be at the game to enjoy the action, with plenty of great restaurants offering big screens and a fun atmosphere come game night.
To cheer on NSW, try:
Whether it's fashion, food, fine wines or footy, the freshly revamped Paddington Inn has it all. Serving yummy footy food like burgers, merguez meatballs, and angus eye fillet, it also promises to set an exciting State of Origin scene in the public bar.
The Paddington Inn features generous booth seating and high communal tables, making it a great place to bring all the friends.
El Topo is one of Sydney's most talked about Mexican restaurants and from the moment you step inside, it's like being transported to Oaxaca. The food features authentic flavours of tamarind, guajillo chilies, avocado leaf, jicama and cactus with modernised methods and local ingredients. The bar features close to 100 Mexican white spirits and the cocktails are nothing short of mouthwatering. With large tables and an awesome terrace, it's the perfect way to dine with friends before watching the game on the six huge screens.
To cheer on Queensland, try:
Sitting right on the banks of the Brisbane River, with a direct view of the Story Bridge, the Riverbar & Kitchen has one of the most amazing backdrops in any Australian restaurant. Large share tables fill the outdoors, the bar features a whole host of cocktails and the contemporary, modern Australian food is perfect for enjoying with friends. Got a group of 10 or more? Ask for the delicious shared menu, which at just $50 per head features three very yummy courses.
Step into Sultan's Palace and relax on the ottomans or at the ornate brass tables. Choose from tasty Turkish pizzas and spicy tagines and enjoy the funky fit-out before heading to the newly renovated Wickham Hotel to watch the game.
Not sure where to eat but know someone wanting to enjoy both food and footy? Buy them a Good Food Gift Card and let them make the choice.
Throwing some extra seating around the TV and inviting the friends over is a great way to enjoy the three games. But what to cook? According to Matt Preston of Masterchef fame, food should be snacky and tasty, simple and soulful.
A footy feast is about easy foods that pack a flavour punch. Here are some ideas:
Barbecued Hot Dogs with Caramelised Onions – split a baguette and stuff it with good quality pork sausages, Dijon mustard, chopped thyme, caramelised onions and sliced tomato. Simple but delicious!
Hot Sauce Chicken with Roasted Corn – marinate a mix of chicken thighs and chicken wings with hot sauce, ginger, honey, garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika and bake in the oven. Serve with roasted corn, sour cream and garnish with coriander.
Bangalow Pork Sausage Rolls with Caramelised Apple & Thyme – Mix coarsely minced Bangalow pork with caramelised apple, shallots, garlic, thyme and parsley and wrap in puff pastry. Brush with egg wash, bake until golden and serve with tomato chutney.
Braised Buttermilk Rolls – Order ahead of time some beef intercostal from your butcher, which is perfect for braising with shallots, carrot, celery, garlic and rosemary. To compliment, make homemade buttermilk rolls (super easy) and serve with coleslaw and crispy shallots.
Fried Chicken, White Coleslaw and Soft, Pull-Apart Rolls – Toss chicken thighs in buttermilk, milk, egg whites, flour, onion powder, sweet paprika and salt and pepper and deep fry. Serve with a white coleslaw and pull-apart rolls. See the full recipe here.