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.
34 Redfern Street, Redfern
Korean 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.
1-7 Albion Place, Sydney
Sorry, 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.
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.
432 Kent Street, Sydney
After 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.
340 Stanmore Road, Petersham
For 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.
367 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
The 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.
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.
320 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
It’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.
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…
425 Collins Street, Melbourne
Ms 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.
213 Franklin Street, Melbourne
Somewhere 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.
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.
189 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane
This 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.
14 Collingwood Street, Paddington
For 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.
358 King William Street, Adelaide
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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.
23 Peel St, Adelaide
If 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.
6/2 Trevillian Quay, Kingston
Ah, 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.
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.
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.