Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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The benefits of live yoghurt
23.03.2017

Step away from the “dessert yoghurt", writes Will Studd. The real unadulterated thing is much more rewarding.

All-Star Yum Cha
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What happens the morning after the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards? We treat the chefs to a world-beating yum cha session, as Dani Valent discovers.

Honey Fingers, Melbourne's inner-city beekeepers
22.03.2017

Single-source honey putting community and sustainability next to sweetness.

Vermouth is having a moment
21.03.2017

More and more adventurous local winemakers are embracing Vermouth's botanicals, writes Max Allen.

Exploring Indonesia's Komodo National Park
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Indonesia's Komodo National Park is home to staggering scenery and biodiversity. Michael Harden sets sail in a handcrafted yacht to explore its remote islands in pared-back luxury.

The new cruises on the horizon in 2017
21.03.2017

Cue the Champagne.

Seven recipes that shaped 1980s fine dining
21.03.2017

Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.

Where Melbourne's finest will take the World's Best Chefs
20.03.2017

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Pope Joan, The Lobo Plantation, Mechanics Institute, Pigeon Hole Café

Pope Joan's Cuban sandwich

Pope Joan's Cuban sandwich

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week include Pope Joan, The Lobo Plantation, Mechanics Institute, and Pigeon Hole Café.

MELBOURNE
Pope Joan
The inevitable queue outside Pope Joan on weekends shows that co-owner and chef Matt Wilkinson has the brunch thing covered. But now the Pope is branching out from admirable eggs and sandwiches (their Cuban, above, is a case in point), opening at night from Monday to Friday with a clever menu that balances health and comfort in a thoroughly appealing way. The comfort side of the ledger includes a brilliant free-range chicken Kiev served with coleslaw and a blade steak teamed with a caper and raisin dressing and plump, crunchy onion rings. Health gets a look-in with a series of hearty salads (eel and beetroot) and sides (watercress, radicchio and almonds). Pope Joan, 75-79 Nicholson St, Brunswick East, Vic. (03) 9388 8858. MICHAEL HARDEN

SYDNEY
The Lobo Plantation
Think of The Lobo Plantation as a sort of rum-fuelled Tardis - step through the tiny door on Clarence Street and you find yourself in a surprisingly palm-fringed and Caribbean-flavoured sanctuary. Fully equipped with sharp service, killer cocktails and a savvy fit-out, it's just the place to escape the gloom of July. The eats are decent - baked cheese balls enlivened with a mighty tangy guava dipping sauce, say, or slices of flank steak flavoured with dark beer and brown sugar - but the real draw is the drinks. They have a vast battery of rums at their disposal and they know what they're doing. Take the Millionaire, a powerful blend of Appleton Estate VX and Lobo's sloe gin, lime juice and grenadine house-made liqueur, that'll leave you feeling smarter and taller as well as richer, or the Communist Sour, Havana Club Añejo Especial freshened up with with Aperol, orange syrup, orange bitters, lemon juice and frothed with the white of an egg. Sultry stuff. The Lobo Plantation, basement lot 1, 209 Clarence St, Sydney, NSW. MAYA KERTHYASA

PERTH
Mechanics Institute
Strictly speaking, this is more of a hot jar than a hot plate, but there's no denying the bar's Epic Bloody Mary is making waves out west. One reason for its notoriety, we think, is the quality of the drink itself. Rich, spicy and wonderfully Tabascoey, it's yet another reason why Mechanics is one of Perth's finest booze emporiums. Garnishing the cocktail with a cheeseburger - among other things on skewers - however, is a wacky statement that speaks of rascally barkeeps who don't take themselves too seriously, but have just enough crazy in their eyes to make a visit here really, really fun. For now, this boozy protein shake is a Sunday-only special, but considering the constant demand for restorative eats and drinks on the sabbath, we're not tipping that to be a problem. Mechanics Institute, 222 William St (access via rear laneway), Northbridge, WA, (08) 9228 4189. MAX VEENHUYZEN

HOBART
Pigeon Hole Café
A seismic shift on West Hobart café Pigeon Hole's small menu is rare, so it didn't take long for news of the addition of a daily bun to filter through the ether. The daily blackboard menu has always had two or three panini, but this new bun is a totally different beast. Brioche-based, it's equally as voluptuous to look at as it is to eat, its top glowing and golden. Inside, it's generously buttered, then lightly toasted before it receives its regularly changing filling. Version one was braised goat with chipotle and labne. We've also seen beef shin with green tomato pickles, and this week's version is chorizo with an apple and red cabbage slaw, jalapeño and Kewpie mayo. Guaranteed instant stardom. Pigeon Hole Café, 93 Goulburn Street, West Hobart, Tas, (03) 6236 9036. SUE DYSON & ROGER MCSHANE

Got a hot tip for our Hot Plates team? Tweet us at @gourmettweets, or tag your Instagram photos with #GThotplates.


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