Paper Bird, New South Wales
This is Korean like you’ve never seen it before. Forget your DIY barbecue meats, Sydney’s Paper Bird simply embraces East Asian styles and flavours and wholly makes them its own. The food here is punchy and inventive from breakfast through to dinner, with dishes that are sure to twist your tongue both when ordering and eating. Take the ddeokbokki for example – moreish glutinous rice fingers rolled in gochujang and peanuts – you won’t be able to say it, but your tastebuds will be so excited that you ordered it. Breakfast sees the likes of Hong Kong French Toast and Kings’ Congee with crab, corn and doughnut chips, while later in the day Paper Bird serves experimental dishes including the Menbosha (prawn toast sandwich), the Taco-yaki (octopus, bulldog sauce and rice flour tortilla), and the Motsonabe (clams, tripe and cabbage in miso).
Supernormal Canteen, Victoria
Melbourne City’s Supernormal spawned a paired-back sibling in July last year, aptly named Supernormal Canteen. The St Kilda eatery is more relaxed than its CBD counterpart and the menu reflects that, while still placing a strong focus on Japanese and Korean-inspired bites done incredibly well. The menu is broken down into a variety of sections – snacks and raw, salad and vegetables, dumpling and bao. You’ll also find yakitori from the hibachi, signature plates (like the famous New England lobster roll), and larger dishes of pan-roasted John Dory with kombu and wild watercress, and strip loin with pepper sauce and eggplant. Go all in with the family or deluxe banquets for a bit of everything, and make sure you wash it down with an Umeshu Spritz.
The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery & Store, Tasmania
Back in 2008, Rodney Dunn and Séverine Demanet started The Agrarian Kitchen Cooking School & Farm, set in a 19th century schoolhouse on five acres in Lachlan, Tasmania. After falling in love with a beautiful building in nearby New Norfolk’s old mental asylum two years ago, Rodney and Séverine set to work on their next project, The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery & Store, which opened in June 2017. Head here for a true paddock-to-plate experience – ingredients are sourced from local growers, farmers, fisherman and the cooking school’s garden and farm, and excess produce of the season is sent to the dedicated preserving kitchen to be sold in the store or featured on future menus. As you would expect, the menus change constantly, but you can expect the likes of onion, speck, sour cream and cheddar tart, cheese dumplings with shaved mangel-wurzel, sorrel and burnt butter, and wood-roasted albacore tuna head and collar with hot sauce.
Iberia, South Australia
Given the Iberian Peninsula is principally divided between Spain and Portugal, it goes without saying that Adelaide’s Iberia takes inspiration from the two European nations. But this is not a run-of-the-mill tapas bar – Iberia presents the flavours of Spain and Portugal with a modern interpretation. And while a selection of ingredients comes from the Iberian region, the majority of produce used is sourced from within 100 km of the restaurant and bar. You’ll find Catalonian flatbread with tomato and anchovy, morcilla with whipped cod roe, cucumber and coriander, potatoes with goats cheese, bay leaf and egg yolk, and pork chops with brassica shoots and horseradish. Iberia also has a stellar drink list, including cocktails and Iberian and Australian wines.
Osteria Ilaria, Victoria
If you’ve had the pleasure of dining at Melbourne’s Tipo 00 then this one is a no brainer – you’re going to want to go. Osteria Ilaria is the new sibling to the lauded pasta bar and sits right next door on Little Bourke Street. The modern trattoria, however, leaves the pasta to its neighbour, with the menu focusing more on Italian share dishes and a whole lot of wine. The open kitchen at Osteria Ilaria will allow you to watch the masters at work as they plate up your feast – think baby octopus with nduja, pork liver sausage with spiced sourdough and rhubarb, whole whiting with pippies and sea herbs, and dry-aged porterhouse with smoked marrow butter. Oh, and even though pasta is not the hero here, you need to try the paccheri with Crystal Bay prawns and sorrel.
Fujisaki, New South Wales
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Wyno, New South Wales