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I tried dishes made with mushroom-based 'meat' from Aussie startup Fable – and they tasted pretty good

Sharon Masige
  • Plant-based meat company Fable held its Sydney launch on Tuesday at the Continental Deli CBD.
  • The restaurant served a range of dishes that incorporated Fable's plant-based meat, including tartare, cabbage rolls and mafalda corta with ragu.
  • I tried a variety of dishes, with the "meat" being soft and not too chewy. The stand out dish were the cabbage rolls.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Fable is one of the latest plant-based meat companies to launch in Australia.

It held its Sydney launch at the Continental Deli CBD on Tuesday, following its inaugural launch at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Crown Towers in Melbourne.

Fable was co-founded by Jim Fuller, a fine dining chef and mycologist, together with organic mushroom farmer Chris McLoghlin and co-founder of former startup Shoes of Prey, Michael Fox. Plus it secured investment from Blackbird Ventures and Grok Ventures, the venture capital firm founded by Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.

The company's 'meat' is primarily made of shiitake mushrooms, and is designed to have the same taste and texture of pulled pork or beef brisket.

It will be available in restaurants before going to retailers. In Sydney, it will be available at the Continental Deli Newtown, Cargo, Beer Deluxe, Bungalow 8, Untied, The Winery, Manly Wine, Glasshouse Brewery, The Hidden Cherub and Third Wave Cafe.

It's also available at Heston Blumenthal’s London Heathrow restaurant The Perfectionists' Café, as well as through food delivery service Marley Spoon.

The Continental Deli CBD hosted the Sydney launch and is offering Fable as a special for the next two weeks. "We’ve been experimenting quite a lot with the Fable product over the past few weeks to test what kind of flavour profiles and mouthfeels we could create," Michael Nicolian, Continental Deli CBD co-founder said in a statement.

"We found it was excellent for recreating the texture of slow braises as well as creating the crispy element you might usually get from meat in a dish."

Here's what I tried.

The meal began with a Fable tartare surrounded by gaufrette potatoes and some parmigiana reggiano.

The tartare had a soft texture without being too chewy or slimy and had a great flavour. It broke apart in little chunks which were easy to put on the potato chips. The potatoes had a perfect crunchy texture to complement the tartare. It was a great plant-based starter.

Then came the Fable cabbage roll with soubise and ginger beurre blanc – my favourite dish of the lunch.

I enjoyed the smooth texture of the cabbage with the Fable "meat" inside. And the sauce was perfect with it. A winner.

Next was broccoli, cauliflower-macadamia puree topped off with Fable XO sauce and sesame.

I'm a fan of broccoli, so I was keen to see how it would taste with a little plant-based meat on top. The sauce definitely added a bit of a kick to the broccoli but I wanted more. I would have liked the sauce to fully drench the broccoli rather than having to chew through quite a bit of green before I got to taste it.

We then had the main course: mafalda corta with Fable ragu and mushroom tapenade.

And here it is, the main - mafalda corta with Fable ragu and mushroom tapenade. I love pasta and was keen to see how the Fable meat stacked up. I felt this dish tasted the most mushroomy (perhaps because of the sauce) but you could have easily mistaken the Fable "meat" for real meat. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it.

All in all, I thought these were creative ways to incorporate Fable "meat" into something other than, say, a burger.

The plant-based meat market only seems to be growing, so who knows what other restaurants will be making with it?