Big-name restaurants are spawning small-scale offshoots that offer a more accessible taste of high-end dining.
Next Door, Sydney1/11
This aptly named spot sits right next to Neil Perry’s superb Double Bay diner, Margaret. It’s so laid-back that it doesn’t even get its own website. Wander in, grab wine or a cocktail and get stuck into one of Perry’s famous cheeseburgers.
Image credit: Smith + Deli
Smith + Deli, Melbourne2/11
Shannon Martinez’s Collingwood dining hall is like Disneyland for vegetarians. Go to the flagship Smith + Daughters for plated fine-dining, including an optional chef’s table dégustation, or pop into the cheerful Smith + Deli to munch on toasties, plant-based schnitzel and indulgent vego big brekkies, plus take-home treats for later.
Image credit: Africola Canteen
Africola Canteen, Adelaide3/11
It’s Africola but it goes home with you. Baby sibling to Adelaide’s beloved South African-driven eatery, Africola Canteen in Norwood dishes up a plantforward takeaway selection of salads, Cuban sandwiches and the original restaurant’s cult peri-peri chicken.
Moon Mart, Melbourne4/11
It felt like the moon had fallen from the sky when Sydney lost beloved Korean fusion restaurant Moon Park in 2016. Now chef/owner Eun Hee An has reappeared in West Melbourne with convenience store and café Moon Mart, which serves coffee, pastries and Korean/Japanese comfort foods, including chilled soba, bibimbap and okonomiyaki hash browns.
Image credit: Nikki To
Its starring role in Netflix’s Chef’s Table: BBQ means getting a booking at Lennox Hastie’s flame-fuelled Firedoor is an exercise in time and patience. His Basque style wine bar Gildas in Surry Hills is a different concept: the focus is tapas and drinks but the expertise and attention to detail is unchanged. And walk-ins are accepted.
Such and Such, Canberra6/11
The seven-course set menu at Pilot in Ainslie is otherworldly but it’s not exactly a meal you’d drop by for every week. For that, head to the team’s new, lighthearted eatery Such and Such. The à la carte menu includes deliciousness such as school prawns with 666 spice and strawberry with shards of white chocolate and rice cream, matched with a lo-fi wine list.
Image credit: March
When your fine-dining restaurant is called Ides, what do you call the more casual spin-off? March, of course. Chef and owner Peter Gunn opened this pared-back wine bar in Collingwood in late 2022 and while it shares plenty of similarities to its grown-up sibling, you’ll likely walk away spending less.
Stokehouse Pasta & Bar, Melbourne8/11
St Kilda’s Stokehouse is an institution in Melbourne, having been operated in several incarnations by the Van Haandel family for more than 30 years. The white-tablecloth-style service remains upstairs but downstairs is now Pasta & Bar, a Mediterranean-leaning beach club space where patrons can pop in for a plate of crab and chilli spaghetti with a bottle from the well-priced wine list.
Sushi Ginza Onodera Toryumon, Tokyo9/11
Standing sushi restaurants are a fast-growing trend in Japan – a way to try the same food served at top sushi restaurants with an accessible price tag. The original Sushi Ginza Onodera – which has outposts in China and America – serves high-end dinner omakase with prices to match, while at this standing-only venue you’ll spend less than half as much.
Image credit: Meatsmith
Singapore fully embraced Australian-style barbecue with Burnt Ends, which earned its first Michelin star in 2018 and reached number 24 this year on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Chef Dave Pynt followed up with two new local eateries, one in Chinatown dishing up American-style smokehouse barbecue, the other in Little India serving modern Indian barbecue. There is also a third outlet in Jakarta.