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Gastro Park, Little Hunter, Aria Brisbane, The Boat House by the Lake

Gastro Park, Sydney

Gastro Park, Sydney

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week including Gastro Park, Little Hunter, Aria Brisbane, and The Boat House by the Lake.

SYDNEY
Gastro Park
Winter is coming, and so too is the new season of Game of Thrones. To get into the spirit of things, Grant King and his motley band are once again celebrating everybody's favourite relentlessly grim sword opera with themed dinners. This lot are all about the new-to-DVD second season, which means you've got the likes of Dragons and Bones (pictured) and the Battle of Blackwater rendered not in wildfire and severed noses but grilled fish served on a beach fire with "wild weeds" and fresh goat's curd. One for the fans? Definitely. It's $100 a head for five courses, and has to be booked ahead. Get yours before April 26, or you'll be crosser than a freshly slapped Joffrey. Gastro Park, 5-9 Roslyn St, Potts Point, Sydney, NSW, 02 8068 1017. PAT NOURSE

MELBOURNE
Little Hunter
It's all about the flesh at Little Hunter, even down to the instantly addictive chicken skin-infused butter that comes with the house-made bread. American chef Gavin Baker, a long-term sous-chef at the Fat Duck, is in charge of the Josper-oven-equipped kitchen here and is a fan of thoughtfully sourced produce from artisan producers. There's plenty for thoughtful carnivores to like, whether it's the crumbed and fried veal sweetbreads served with parsnip and onions or the excellent 'beef on toast', a kind of carpaccio served on wafer-thin crispbread with chicken liver parfait and chives. Little Hunter, Basement, 195 Little Collins St, Melbourne, Vic, 03 9654 0090. MICHAEL HARDEN

BRISBANE
Aria Brisbane
Want a two-course lunch in salubrious, riverside-style at Aria Brisbane for just $39? It comes with all the niceties: clever amuse bouche, petit fours and a cheeky glass of Bartlett sav blanc or pinot noir. We thought you might be interested. The magic words are "March market lunch special"; mention them as you make a booking. But be quick, the charm only works until March 28. For your entrée, it's a perfectly seasoned, hand-sliced gravlax of Ora King salmon, bookended by crunchy pickled cucumber, and topped with a quenelle of dill-flecked crème fraîche. Up next, plump for pork loin, three slim tranches with a panko-crumbed mini barrel of black pudding providing a tasty, meaty foil for the fruity sweetness of the accompanying puréed apple and lightly bitter leaves of wilted radicchio. For something brinier, opt instead for the crisp-crusted fillet of pan-seared barramundi sparked up with salsa verde, crushed potatoes and a scattering of green beans. Aria Brisbane, 1 Eagle St, Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane, Qld, 07 3233 2555. FIONA DONNELLY

CANBERRA
The Boat House by the Lake
Stunning lakeside views plus sophisticated cuisine equals a great place to be. They've finally connected the dots at The Boat House by the Lake, long considered to be Canberra's home for safe function food, by taking on a troop of siphon-wielding young chefs who have been given carte blanche to revolutionise the menu. Mains include the likes of a wagyu beef fillet and brisket with pommes Maxim, parsley, red wine shallots and confit garlic, and desserts are in the vanguard - try the pumpkin cheesecake ice-cream with black sesame custard and smithereens of salted honey popcorn. The Boat House by the Lake, Menindee Dr, Barton, ACT, (02) 6273 5500. GARETH MEYER

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