Life Eat & Drink The coolest new dining hotspots
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The coolest new dining hotspots

Karen Steains
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The number of new hospitality venues opening seems to be growing exponentially. Are we about to reach a culinary critical mass where we’ll tear through space and time? Clearly yes.

But before then, we’ve got a long, long list of Korean, Korexican, Mod Oz and New Nordic joints to eat through around the country.

Here’s where we’ll be making bookings before the universe collapses under the weight of Australian restaurants.

Sydney

Moon Park

34 Redfern Street, Redfern

moon-parkKorean is hotter than a bibimbap bowl at the moment, as is evidenced by Redfern’s Moon Park. Headed by former Claude’s chefs Ben Sears and Eun Hee An are taking a unique angle on bibimbap and bulgogi.

 

Danjee

1-7 Albion Place, Sydney

danjeeSorry, what were we saying about Korean? The city’s new K-town joint, Danjee, rocks super-spicy ‘Fire Chicken,’ house-pickled radish and glass noodles, with a top-shelf selection of wine and craft beer to boot. We can see why it’s a thing.

 

Excelsior Jones

139A Queen Street, Ashfield

Ashfield’s got more than its share of good food, but Excelsior Jones is getting folks even more excited about the Inner West. Set up by the dudes behind Le Monde, Excelsior Jones does 5 Senses coffee, house-cured salmon with hash and poached egg, and chicken nuggets. Yep.

 

Greenheart Espresso

432 Kent Street, Sydney

GreenHeart_SamAli_hires-28After selling up LaLocanda in Bronte, Fiona Bloomer and Andrea Vagge have re-emerged in the CBD with Greenheart, a new cafe on Kent Street. Using Little Marionette beans and Brasserie Bread, Vagge offers a range of salads, sandwiches and pizza by the slice.

 

Daisy’s Milk Bar

340 Stanmore Road, Petersham

daisys-mainFor a moment there, it looked as though the Milk Bar was a relic of times past. But thankfully, Daisy’s has not only revived the tradition, they’ve rejuvenated it. Coffee comes via Marrickville’s Double Roasters, your lime soda is served with a dollop of ice-cream and sandwiches come with meatballs. Classic.

 

Melbourne

DuNord Kitchen

367 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

dunordThe New Nordic is a phrase you’ll no doubt be hearing a lot of in 2014. DuNord Kitchen, a new addition to the Little Bourke Street bar, is leading the charge in Melbourne. Think pine-smoked quails egg, venison tartare and blackberry-glazed mutton, with botanical notes of bergamot, juniper and elderflower.

 

Smith and Daughters

175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

It’s rare to see punters in such a lather over vegan cuisine, but it’s not surprising when the menu’s as good as Smith and Daughters’. Vego dishes with a Latin inflection feature the familiar ingredients of prawn and chorizo – but they’re all made of tofu. Cool.

 

Paperboy Kitchen

320 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

paperboy-kitchenIt’s best not to mess with the banh mi without good reason – which, luckily, Paperboy Kitchen has. The crispy roll comes with braised beef and a little shot of pho, while the traditional Viet coffee is made with single origin beans.

 

Fukuryu Ramen

Level 1, 22-26 Corrs Lane, Melbourne

Ramen is one of those dishes that inspires increasingly fervent protestations of authenticity. Fukuryu’s got a better claim than most: the original restaurant is in Fukuoka, Japan. Noodles, as you expect, are handmade and the tonkotsu broth is rich and thick. Melbourne’s new benchmark ramen? Perhaps…

 

Ms Collins

425 Collins Street, Melbourne

Ms-Collins-barMs Collins is something of culinary super-group (more Divine Fits than Velvet Revolver), with dishes from celebrated cheffies Jacques Reymond, Daniel Wilson, Paul Wilson and Ricardo Momesso coming together on a single menu. The new Collins Street club keeps the party going after dinner’s over, with co-owner Simon Digby jumping on the decks.

 

General Store & Co

213 Franklin Street, Melbourne

General-Store-&-Co.-3Somewhere between a grocer, barber and a sharehouse sits General Store & Co., the only place in Melbourne (and perhaps Australia) you can buy some Coco-Pops while getting a trim and drinking a boozy ice tea. Forget the duopoly – this is the way of the future.

 

Stagger Lee’s

276 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

The team behind Proud Mary has moved into Fitzroy Proper with a new store smack-bang on Brunswick Street. Along with filter and cold-drip coffee, Stagger Lee’s (named after famous murder, of course), there are Americanesque burgers and kale sandwiches. It’s on trend.

 

Brisbane

Strauss

189 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane

straussThis smart little caf in the middle of Brissy is serving up delicious locally-roasted Cup coffee, which is roasted just across the river. While Strauss is undoubtedly a relief first thing on a Monday morning, CBD workers are likely to appreciate its after-work craft beers just as much.

 

Shouk Cafe

14 Collingwood Street, Paddington

shouk-cafeFor Guy Frawley and Adi Shabtay, Shouk is an expression of their shared love of Israeli cuisine. With dishes like cumin and lime crepe soufflé, olive and lemon chicken tagine and goats milk date panna cotta, it’s a love that’s very likely to transfer to Paddington’s local residents.

 

Adelaide

One Inch Punch

358 King William Street, Adelaide


A vanguard of the coming Korexican wave (we promise, it’s a thing) is Adelaide’s One Inch Punch. Dishes like black vinegar braised berkshire belly, pao cai, and daikon, or sugar-cured ocean trout, coconut, popcorn, crackling, lime, jalapeño make for counter-intuitive but genuinely creative cuisine.

 

Kaffana

23 Peel St, Adelaide

kaffanaIf you think Adelaide’s only got Korean Mexican up its sleeve, Kaffana’s Serbian Tapas will prove you dead wrong. This little bar’s doing slivovitz cocktails and charcoal grilled steaks, all in a room shaped like a snail shell.

 

ACT

The Rum Bar

6/2 Trevillian Quay, Kingston

therumbarAh, rum: the booze so good you can pay your military with it. On the shores of Burley Griffin, The Rum Bar is not only mixing up the entire library of rummy cocktails, it’s cooking with the golden nectar, serving orange rum pork belly and the occasional rum chicken wing.

 

Temporada

15 Moore Street, Canberra

The latest addition to Canberra’s must-try list it Temporada, a modern-Australian tapas joint by the guys behind Aubergine. With a menu built around their terrific wood-fired grill, it takes cues from Middle Eastern cuisine – grilled lamb ribs with spiced eggplant – as much as it does Spanish – marinated sardines on toast.

 

Perth

Tommy Sugo

Broadway Fair Shopping Centre, 88 Broadway, Crawley

Set up by the team behind Perth cafe The Tenth State, Tommy Sugo has a simple if winning idea: pasta, pastries and coffee. Customers can choose from nine varieties of handmade pasta, with seven different saucy creations to stick on top.

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