Akash Arora serves up Australia’s hottest new restaurants. And none of them are in big cities...
New South Wales
Lark Hill Wine Bar and Cafe
Food: After eight years, this winery restaurant is reinventing itself as a more casual destination with a rotating roster of guest chefs who’ll do four-week stints. Menu items range from cheese boards and charcuterie plates to more substantial pastas and toasties.
Drinks: All 17 Lark Hill wines, including celebrated vintages such as the 2005 riesling and 2009 shiraz, are on the list.
Space: A modern 50-seat restaurant with polished-concrete floor, latte-toned furnishings and an outdoor timber deck.
Location: About 30 minutes east of Canberra.￼
Corner of Bungendore and Joe Rocks roads, Bungendore
Wickens at the Royal Mail Hotel
Food: More than 400 edible items are grown in the Royal Mail’s gardens, and the hotel breeds its own cows and sheep on the neighbouring Mount Sturgeon farm. So expect crisp, fresh produce to shape chef Robin Wickens’ ever-changing menus.
Drinks: The cellar boasts the largest collection of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines in the Southern Hemisphere but local varietals are well represented, too.
Space: A contemporary dining room with slatted-wood ceiling, round tables and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Location: The small town of Dunkeld, about 3.5 hours west of Melbourne.￼
98 Parker Street, Dunkeld
Point Leo Estate
Food: After eight years at Rockpool – seven as executive chef – Phil Wood is taking the reins at the Mornington Peninsula’s brand-new fine-dining destination, with a menu that champions produce grown on nearby farms.
Drinks: Established in 2006, the vineyards of Point Leo Estate are renowned for cool-climate varietals, which feature prominently on the menu.
Space: The Stephen Jolson-designed 110-seat restaurant is set amid 135 hectares of vineyards dotted with sculptures.
Location: Ninety minutes south of Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula.￼
3649 Frankston-Flinders Road, Merricks ￼
Longview Tasting Room
Food: Co-owner Mark Saturno’s Italian heritage has informed the mood and food at this restaurant in the newly cool Adelaide Hills wine region. Dishes include cured meat platters and brisket sandwiches with housemade pickles.
Drinks: All Longview wines, including a refreshing chardonnay and crisp grüner veltliner, make an appearance.
Space: A bright, spacious 60-seater with blond floorboards and furniture and dark steel accents.
Location: About an hour south of the CBD.￼
Pound Road, Macclesfield