Akash Arora serves up Australia’s hottest new restaurants.
Bird’s Nest Yakitori & Bar
The food: Bolstered by the success of their yakitori eatery in Brisbane’s West End, Marie Yokoyama and Emi Kamada have opened an outpost in Fortitude Valley. It’s a storm of Asian flavours with dishes such as miso-glazed Patagonian toothfish.
The drinks: A good selection of beers, sakés and Japanese spirits to complement the cuisine.
The atmosphere: An intimate izakaya-style dining area with dim lighting, bar seating and small tables.
The location: Right in the heart of the valley.
702 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie
The food: Whether you’re after breakfast (try the free-range pork rolls), lunch (truffle-butter roast chicken, anyone?) or a post-work platter of charcuterie, chef Scott Pickett’s new deli and rotisserie hits the spot. They do takeaway, too.
The drinks: Short, sharp list of 20 whites and 20 reds from Australia and beyond, plus cocktails, boutique beers and ciders.
The atmosphere: A cosy set-up with dark-timber interiors, seating 36 people on communal tables.
The location: Corner of Elizabeth and Therry streets, in Melbourne’s bustling Queen Victoria Market.
507 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
The food: The Bar H duo–chef Hamish Ingham and his wife, sommelier Rebecca Lines – are behind Banksii, Australia’s first vermouth bar and bistro. Enjoy sheep’s-milk yoghurt with honeycomb and brioche for breakfast and roast spatchcock for lunch or dinner.
The drinks: More than 40 vermouths, served straight or in cocktails, plus a selection of 100 wines from Australia and the Mediterranean.
The atmosphere: Relaxed on weekdays, boisterous on weekends, with indoor and outdoor seating.
The location: Close to where Noma had its pop-up at Barangaroo.
11, 33 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo
The food: A four-metre-long grill is at the centre of this unpretentious eatery with a firm focus on handheld food and share plates, such as local fish served straight from the flames.
The drinks: A tight wine list with an extensive selection of beers (there are 18 on tap), plus a range of cocktails such as Vitamen Sea and Frosé (frozen rosé).
The atmosphere: With shared tables and a capacity of 350, the venue has a laid-back, communal feel.
The location: Ground floor of the rebuilt Stokehouse building in St Kilda.
30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda