Restau­rant Re­views

Aus­tralia’s al­fresco eater­ies are a breath of fresh air

Qantas - - Contents - NSW ↓ OTTO 8/6 Cow­per Wharf Road, Wool­loomooloo (02) 9368 7488 ot­toris­torante.com.au Open seven days for lunch and din­ner

With a sil­hou­ette of the city sky­line, bob­bing boats, rip­ples of deep blue and the swag­ger of South­ern Ital­ian fare, Otto has been woo­ing all and sundry to Syd­ney’s Wool­loomooloo Wharf for two decades. Who wouldn’t re­quest al­fresco seat­ing? The white-on-white fur­nish­ings, crisp table­cloths and snappy wait­staff make it seem like a se­ri­ous af­fair but this is a re­laxed din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. And the con­tem­po­rary Ital­ian-in­spired food of chef Richard Ptac­nik lets qual­ity pro­duce shine in the glory of sim­plic­ity. Start with salt-and-pep­per school prawns with a punchy smoked chilli aïoli. Cherry toma­toes, pome­gran­ate and mint add a re­fresh­ing edge to creamy bur­rata, while pil­lows of gnoc­chi and Berk­shire pork and porcini make for a rich ragù. Whole grilled eastern rock lob­ster is served in a lather of pep­per but­ter and the Ta­jima 7+ mar­bled Wagyu rump cap will have you yearn­ing for more. ↓ BANKSII

Shop 11, 33 Baranga­roo Av­enue, Baranga­roo (02) 8072 7037 banksii. syd­ney Open seven days for lunch and din­ner

Among the suite of restau­rants on the wa­ter at Syd­ney’s new Baranga­roo de­vel­op­ment, Banksii (from the team that launched the award-win­ning Bar H) sets the agenda for those look­ing for the per­fect tip­ple or tempt­ing treat as the sun sets. The al­fresco area of this restau­rant-cum-ver­mouth bar is a tan­ta­lis­ing blend of Hamp­tons-style get­away and laid-back Aussie awe­some­ness. A stun­ning wine list, one of Aus­tralia’s largest ver­mouth of­fer­ings and ser­vice that’s one part af­fa­ble, two parts pro­fes­sional is the per­fect recipe for a re­laxed din­ner or long lunch. In the kitchen, chef Hamish Ing­ham cham­pi­ons Aus­tralian botan­i­cal and na­tive in­gre­di­ents and de­liv­ers them in a con­tem­po­rary con­text. Mun­trie jam gives a fruity twang to chicken liver pâté. Curry leaf but­ter and pick­led turmeric add an Asian ac­cent to grilled king prawns. Seared king­fish is joined by wild fen­nel and fer­mented chilli, while crisp salt­bush and pre­served lemon help bal­ance beau­ti­fully braised lamb shoul­der. ↓ ORMEGGIO AT THE SPIT

D’Alb­ora Mari­nas The Spit, Spit Road, Mos­man (02) 9969 4088 ormeggio.com.au Open Wed­nes­day-Sun­day for lunch and din­ner

The tran­quil­lity of Mid­dle Har­bour and Pearl Bay is matched by so­phis­ti­ca­tion, style and big flavours at this Spit Bridge star. Ormeggio is one of Syd­ney’s finest pro­po­nents of North­ern Ital­ian, thanks to ex­ec­u­tive chef Alessan­dro Pavoni. Once dubbed “the king of risotto Down Un­der”, he has many more tricks in his culi­nary kit­bag. With about 30 seats on the deck, a long, lan­guid lunch is at your beck and call. So, too, are wait­staff who know a thing or two about great ser­vice. Al­though clas­sic Ormeggio dishes are of­fered, Pavoni has re­cently teamed with Span­ish head chef Vic­tor Moya to de­liver an Ital­ian culi­nary trip via Spain. En­joy Glacier 51 tooth­fish and salted cod frit­ters with a Basque Coun­try pil-pil sauce. Mean­while, a peanut ajo blanco (white soup) part­ners Skull Is­land tiger prawns and roast chicken makes a nest in del­i­cate gnoc­chi. The rye-and-pump­kin crema Cata­lana is just as stun­ning as the wa­ter views.

ACT ↓ PIAL­LIGO ES­TATE GAR­DEN PAVILIONS

18 Kal­la­roo Road, Pial­ligo (02) 6247 6060 thep­i­al­li­goes­tate.com.au Open Wed­nes­daySun­day for break­fast and lunch, and Wed­nes­daySatur­day for din­ner

Ris­ing phoenix-like af­ter their restau­rant was dev­as­tated by a fire last year and their smoke­house – home to award-win­ning ba­con – burned down in 2016, the team at Pial­ligo Es­tate con­tin­ues dish­ing up fab­u­lous fare in their Gar­den Pavilions. The build­ings are set amid an ex­quis­ite parterre, where din­ers gaze over the olive groves, vine­yards and or­chards that pro­vide much of the pro­duce. It’s all about shar­ing here. For lunch, kick off with the chef’s char­cu­terie se­lec­tion and a lo­cal brew, Pact Beer Co. 42.2 Sum­mer Ale. You can’t go past the smoke­house fish plat­ter, given sparky zest by ca­pers and cor­ni­chons while del­i­cate dill may­on­naise and a cool-cli­mate Can­berra rosé soften the edges. Be­fore leav­ing, pur­chase some of their fa­mous smoked goods to savour at home.

↓ POD FOOD

12 Beltana Road, Pial­ligo (02) 6257 3388 pod­food.com.au Open Satur­day-Sun­day for break­fast, Wed­nes­day-Sun­day for lunch and Thurs­day-Sun­day for din­ner

Wan­der down a brick-paved path and dis­cover the se­cret gar­den that has be­come a favourite des­ti­na­tion of Can­berra’s food-lovers. Take a seat on the open-sided wooden deck or in the charm­ing court­yard, where lush creep­ers tum­ble over walls and trees. Pod Food of­fers a tran­quil set­ting for week­day busi­ness lunches but ex­pect a rowdy crowd at week­ends when din­ers set­tle in for the long haul. The con­cise menu be­lies the com­plex­ity and sheer bril­liance of the food com­bi­na­tions, mostly drawn from lo­cal pro­duce. It’s a tough choice be­tween two cour­ses for $60 or three for $70 but why not throw cau­tion to the ros­es­cented wind and em­brace the six-course chef’s tast­ing menu for $100? With an award­win­ning wine list, each dish can be matched with aplomb.

NT ↓ YOTS GREEK TAV­ERNA

54 Ma­rina Boule­vard, Cullen Bay (08) 8981 4433 yots.com.au Open Tues­day-Sun­day for din­ner, plus Tues­day-Sun­day for lunch in July and Au­gust

Thank­fully, some things re­main un­changed year af­ter year: Dar­win’s sul­try wet-sea­son evenings and oc­ca­sional wild storms; crisp dry-sea­son af­ter­noons; and en­joy­ing won­der­ful food at Yots Greek Tav­erna, over­look­ing Cullen Bay Ma­rina. Hosts Evan and Anna Pa­pan­don­akis don’t mess with suc­cess, serv­ing sim­ple, clas­sic Greek dishes fo­cus­ing on seafood. Ex­pect freshly shucked oys­ters, lo­cal wild salt­wa­ter bar­ra­mundi and char­grilled oc­to­pus, as well as ex­cel­lent lamb sou­vlaki with lemon pota­toes. It’s just right for the set­ting on a broad tim­ber deck next to the boats and twin­kling lights of the ma­rina. Then there’s the charm­ing, at­ten­tive ser­vice and desserts to make any yi­ayia proud. If sul­tri­ness or storms pre­clude sit­ting out­doors, there’s plenty of space in­side in the air con­di­tion­ing. Check the weather be­fore book­ing.

WA ↓ CULLEN WINES RESTAU­RANT

4323 Caves Road, Wilyabrup (08) 9755 5656 cul­len­wines.com.au Open Fri­day-Tues­day for lunch

Vines in all direc­tions. A bio­dy­namic gar­den. A homely, low-pro­file tim­ber and gran­ite cot­tage. Few Mar­garet River es­tates feel as con­nected to the land as Cullen’s – dou­bly so if you’re en­joy­ing the Cullen fam­ily’s hos­pi­tal­ity from the sun-kissed ve­ran­dah or un­der the shade of tow­er­ing pep­per­mint trees. While Vanya Cullen over­sees the wine­mak­ing, chef Iain Robert­son keeps time with lively, cos­mopoli­tan dishes that cel­e­brate es­tate-grown in­gre­di­ents. Lunch might fea­ture dainty tem­pura zuc­chini flow­ers stuffed with sheep’s whey, while gar­den-fresh green toma­toes counter the rich­ness of juicy pork and scal­lops. The honey mousse dessert made with nec­tar from Cullen’s hives is an es­sen­tial order.

↓ IS­LAND MAR­KET

364 West Coast Drive, Trigg (08) 9447 0077 is­land­mar­ket­trigg.com Open seven days for break­fast, lunch and din­ner

Not al­fresco in the strictest sense, this breezy din­ing room with win­dows and doors that open onto Trigg Beach could be pi­geon­holed as a restau­rant with a view but it has plenty of sub­stance to match its heady coastal style. Most telling is the ap­point­ment of David Coomer (Star Anise, Print Hall, Pata Ne­gra) as ex­ec­u­tive chef. Whether he’s steer­ing the menu in a sub­tle North African di­rec­tion (fried cala­mari with Ara­bic spice and pitas crammed with ex­em­plary baba ganoush and lamb mer­guez) or tip­ping the Akubra to Aus­tralian food tra­di­tions (hello to you, pavlova with sea­sonal fruit), de­li­cious eat­ing is as­sured. Add great cock­tails and hip wine choices and you’re look­ing at the mak­ings of a bril­liant day in the sun.

VIC ↓ WIL­SON & MAR­KET

163-185 Com­mer­cial Road, South Yarra (03) 9804 7530 wilso­nand­mar­ket.com.au Open Tues­day and Thurs­day-Sun­day for lunch and Tues­daySun­day for din­ner

Fans of the Botan­i­cal in its hey­day are misty-eyed over the re-emer­gence of chef Paul Wil­son. Re­cently re­turned from his trav­els through Latin Amer­ica, he has opened a slick op­er­a­tion ad­join­ing Prahran Mar­ket, com­plete with a ter­race over­look­ing Com­mer­cial Road and enough clas­si­cal ac­cou­trement to sat­isfy the sternest Europhile. The truf­fled po­lenta of Bot fame is back, too – a bowl of pure com­fort. You’ll also want to check out the chicken – a golden-skinned thing of beauty, brined, gen­tly smoked then roasted – and add an order of triple-cooked chips as a chaser. But Wil­son knows the two-speed na­ture of his South Yarra au­di­ence so fat lozenges of raw yel­lowfin tuna tum­bled in a bit­ter­sweet salad achieve the rare com­bi­na­tion of be­ing both de­li­cious and healthy. ↓ MOVIDA AQUI

Level 1, 500 Bourke Street, Mel­bourne (03) 9663 3038 movida.com.au Open Mon­day-Fri­day for lunch and Mon­day-Satur­day for din­ner

With the grand 19th-cen­tury dome of the Supreme Court of Vic­to­ria loom­ing dra­mat­i­cally over­head and the bus­tle of the city’s le­gal dis­trict nearby, there are few bet­ter places to en­joy the sun­shine than on the um­brella-shaded ter­race at Span­ish cham­pion MoVida’s south­ern CBD off­shoot. Aqui is a big­ger beast than the Hosier Lane orig­i­nal, its slick, mod­ern fit-out giv­ing nods to Mel­bourne de­sign ticks (hello milk-crate light fit­tings) and its menu en­joy­ing the chance to trot out larger dishes, in­clud­ing au­then­tic vari­a­tions on paella such as ar­roz ne­gro with braised cut­tle­fish and squid. The sig­na­ture tapas are all here, in­clud­ing an­chovy with smoked tomato sor­bet, along with a roll­call of cured meats such as jamón Ibérico. Fac­tor in a glass of some­thing Span­ish and cold and you won’t want to go back to the of­fice.

SA ↓ 2KW

Level 8, 2 King Wil­liam Street, Ade­laide (08) 8212 5511 2kw­bar.com.au Open seven days for lunch and din­ner

Al­fresco din­ing in the heart of the city? Not a prob­lem when you’re eight storeys above the traf­fic lights. This rooftop gar­den and restau­rant of­fers a flex­i­ble range of in­ti­mate spa­ces, from com­mu­nal ta­bles and win­dow seats to shaded out­door ca­banas and a gar­den ter­race. Choose from the sub­stan­tial bar menu or go à la carte. Head chef Daniel Lawrence keeps it fresh, sum­mery and Mediter­ranean with smaller plates such as spicy fried egg­plant with but­ter­milk tahini, wal­nuts and pome­gran­ate. Among the larger dishes, noth­ing beats the braised baby squid from Port Wil­lunga with grilled white mor­cilla, white beans and a sweet sherry re­duc­tion. Over­head mis­ters keep the mood cool on hot days.

↓ PIKE & JOYCE

730 Maw­son Road, Lenswood (08) 8389 8102 pike­and­joyce.com.au Open Thurs­daySun­day for lunch and Mon­day-Wed­nes­day for cel­lar- door plat­ters

Perched at al­most 600 me­tres above sea level, with bi-fold doors thrown open to re­veal a mas­sive deck, this stun­ning cel­lar-door restau­rant has a view of the vine­yards that’s as glo­ri­ous as the glass of grüner velt­liner on your ta­ble. As much as pos­si­ble, the fare is house­made – or at least lo­cal – from the bread and hand-churned but­ter to the Joyson ap­ples served with the cheese plates. The menu is fresh, light and con­tem­po­rary, with dishes such as pancetta-wrapped rab­bit loin with baby heir­loom car­rots, leaves and flow­ers or pan-fried garfish with steamed mus­sels and baby cala­mari in a hot, spicy broth topped with more leafy bits – su­per-gor­geous and de­li­cious.

QLD ↓ VAQUERO

344 Sandgate Road, Al­bion (07) 3862 3606 va­que­ro­din­ing.com.au Open Tues­day-Satur­day for lunch and din­ner

A cool breeze and the sooth­ing sound of the foun­tain in the cob­ble­stoned court­yard at the rear of this Span­ish-in­spired restau­rant in­stantly in­vites re­lax­ation. Add a killer cock­tail to the pic­ture and it’s a sure thing. The house Mo­jito, made with Are­hu­cas golden rum, lime juice, char­coal-grilled pineap­ple purée and mint is highly rec­om­mended. Start with the char­cu­terie board (all that lovely-look­ing salami and jamón is pre­pared in-house), pickles and de­li­cious rus­tic sour­dough. That en­tic­ing smoky aroma as you make your way through the nar­row, mood­ily lit in­te­rior? It’s prob­a­bly some­thing cook­ing over char­coal – the rack of pork, com­plete with sizzling crack­ling, salt-aged duck breast or wild veni­son per­haps? If you can’t de­cide, be guided by the wait­staff, who re­ally know their stuff. ↓ THE WOLFE

989 Stan­ley Street, East Bris­bane (07) 3891 7772 the­wolfeeast­bris­bane.com.au Open Thurs­dayFri­day for lunch and Tues­day-Satur­day for din­ner

Housed in a beau­ti­ful build­ing with his­toric touches – and with a clas­sic black, white and grey in­te­rior and a grand tim­ber bar – The Wolfe is old-fash­ioned in all the right ways. Head through French doors to the cosy court­yard tucked away at the rear of the restau­rant – the per­fect place for a long lunch on a balmy Queens­land af­ter­noon. If it some­times feels like well-ex­e­cuted clas­sic fare is the stuff of fairy­tales, take heart. The menu, with its whim­si­cal Broth­ers Grimm-style de­pic­tion of prowl­ing canids, is re­fresh­ingly straight­for­ward; there are but a dozen or so dishes from which to choose. The per­fectly pink lamb rump comes with creamy soubise and oys­ter mush­rooms or there’s the brioche-crusted white fish with na­tive greens and a scal­lop con­sommé. Have them both as part of the seven-course tast­ing menu.

TAS ↓ THE SOURCE RESTAU­RANT

Ether Build­ing, Mona, 655 Main Road, Ber­riedale (03) 6277 9904 mona.net.au Open Wed­nes­day-Mon­day for lunch and Fri­day-Satur­day for din­ner

There are few restau­rants where you can eat at a “liv­ing” ta­ble but on the deck at The Source, look­ing out across the Der­went River, the ta­bles are planted with gen­tle hills of baby’s tears, pur­ple and white pra­tia and Cor­si­can mint. With one of the long­est wine lists in the state, you might like to take a rec­om­men­da­tion from the som­me­lier and try some­thing dif­fer­ent, like an an­cient va­ri­etal wine from Ge­or­gia. The chin­uri is de­li­cious with a seafood an­tipasto, pickles, guindilla pep­pers, saf­fron aïoli and rye crisps, as is the con­fit abalone with pick­led daikon and greens in a mush­room stock. Meaty op­tions in­clude seared wal­laby with smoked beet­root, al­mond-and­wat­tle­seed but­ter, Thai basil and fried es­chalots or poached fil­let of beef with greens, pick­led turnip, ox­tai­land-whisky con­sommé and black gar­lic. Top it all off with the crème fraîche cheese­cake with straw­berry, rasp­berry and al­mond crumb.

↓ TIM­BRE KITCHEN

Velo Wines, 755 West Ta­mar High­way, Le­gana (03) 6330 3677 tim­brek­itchen.com Open Thurs­day-Mon­day for lunch and Fri­day-Satur­day for din­ner

Take a seat on the deck at one of Tas­ma­nia’s first vine­yards and en­joy the lush view across to the Ta­mar River and hills be­yond. Owner-chef Matt Adams de­signs the menu daily around lo­cal pro­duce (of­ten de­liv­ered by neigh­bours), pickles, fer­ments, coals and fire. The wine list fea­tures pinot noir from Ta­mar Val­ley vine­yards such as Stoney Rise and Shiny Wine, as well as the lively pétil­lant na­turel from Mar­ion’s Vine­yard. Heavenly dishes in­clude the as­para­gus with crisp-edged fried egg, ’nduja, goat’s curd and a fried bun or the wood-oven­grilled cheese with Granny Jean’s mus­tard pickle. Larger plates might in­clude beef brisket with bagna càuda, pick­led radish, leaves and fresh broad beans, while the but­ter­milk and bay jelly with rhubarb and olive oil makes for a lus­cious fin­ish.

Lamb with lemon, mint and soy­beans at 2KW in Ade­laide

Pial­ligo Es­tate’s Gar­den Pavilions in the ACT

Ormeggio at The Spit over­looks Syd­ney’s Mid­dle Har­bour

NSW AN­THONY HUCKSTEP | ACT DIANA STREAK | NT SAM McCUE | WA MAX VEENHUYZEN VIC LARISSA DUBECKI | SA NIGEL HOP­KINS | QLD MORAG KOBEZ | TAS JO COOK

“Liv­ing” ta­bles at The Source Restau­rant at Mona, north of Ho­bart

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