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The Royal Mail Hotel is changing
28.03.2017

Executive chef Robin Wickens has a stronger influence at the Royal Mail Hotel's upcoming restaurant, slated to open later this year.

Adventuring along America's north-west rivers
28.03.2017

The rivers of America's north-west running through Washington state and Oregon form the arteries of epic landscapes and bold discovery routes. Emma Sloley follows in the wake of Lewis and Clark.

The World's Best sommeliers are coming to Australia
28.03.2017

For the first time, the world's top international sommeliers will take part in the World's 50 Best Awards too.

Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017

Italian food in the restaurants of Australia blossomed into maturity in the new millennium, as the work of these trailblazers shows – dazzling and diverse, a successful balance between adaptation and tradition.

Steam ovens: a guide
27.03.2017

Billed as the faster, cleaner way to cook, are these on-trend ovens all they’re cracked up to be? We take a close look at their rising popularity, USP versus the traditional convection cooker and how each type rates in terms of form, function, and above all, flavour in this buyer’s guide.

Our chocolate issue is out now
27.03.2017

Our April issue is out now. In his editor's letter, Pat Nourse walks you through what to expect.

Roast pork with Nelly Robinson
27.03.2017

Nelly Robinson of Sydney's nel. restaurant talks us through his favourite roasting joints, tips for crisp roast potatoes and why, when it comes to pork, slow and steady always wins the race.

Water carafes
24.03.2017

More than mere vessels, these pieces bring a cool breeze of style from the fridge to the table.

Flour and Stone Recipes

Baker extraordinaire Nadine Ingram of Sydney's Flour and Stone cooks up a sweet storm for Easter, including the much loved bakery's greatest hit.

Fast autumn dinners

Autumn weather signals the arrival of soups, broths, roasts and more hearty meals.

Roasted cauliflower salad with yoghurt dressing and almonds

The cauliflower is roasted until it starts to caramelise, which adds extra depth of flavour to this winning salad. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

All Star Yum Cha

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.

New cruises 2017

Cue the Champagne.

1980s recipes

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.

Savoury tarts

Will your next baking project be a flaky puff pastry with pumpkin, goat's curd and thyme, or a classic bacon and Stilton tart? As autumn settles in, we're ticking these off one by one.

Melbournes finest meet Worlds Best

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.

Viet Town, 400 Gradi Cicchetti, Chur on Constance, Steves

400 Gradi Cicchetti, Melbourne

400 Gradi Cicchetti, Melbourne

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week, including Viet Town, 400 Gradi Cicchetti, Chur on Constance, and Steves.

SYDNEY
Viet Town
Great as Sydney's Vietnamese dining scene is, there can sometimes be a certain paint-by-numbers sameness to its restaurant menus. Perhaps this is why Viet Town's carte is so engaging. It's packed with off-the-beaten-track stuff like beef ribs braised in young coconut juice with pickled green peppercorns, and chicken cooked with a spicy sauce spiked with fish paste, alongside credible versions of the classics, decent pho, banh xeo, tiny fried spring rolls, sugarcane prawns and chicken wings glazed with fish sauce among them. It's more the diversity that dazzles than the detail so far, but the owners, who hail from Da Nang, are just warming up, and promise more regional specialties are to come. Viet Town, shop G04, 345B-353 Sussex St, Sydney, NSW, (02) 9262 7982. PAT NOURSE

MELBOURNE
400 Gradi Cicchetti
Johnny Di Francesco may have won the best pizza in the World Pizza Championship for the pies he makes at 400 Gradi, and he may be about to open his third pizza outlet on the former Giuseppe, Arnaldo & Sons site at Crown, but opening his first bar, 400 Gradi Cicchetti, could be one of the best things he's done so far. The design, courtesy of Pascale Gomes-McNabb, certainly helps. It's a dark-hued moody number with leather banquettes, timber, marble and metal detailing, and a beautiful rippled-glass front door. It's intimate and sophisticated with sound and light levels that are comfortable without being boring. There's a similar philosophy at work with the menu of small dishes (cicchetti, as they're known in Venice). Brilliant little sausages are served with wild greens, crisp polenta is teamed with mushrooms, handmade pasta is tossed with crab and chilli or stuffed with pork, lamb and beef, and meat and cheese are cut to order. The wine list is almost exclusively Italian and there are a couple of pages of interesting Italian-accented cocktails, too. Occasional slips like dried-out, over-chilled, preshucked oysters at $4 a pop might be a result of opening-week nerves, but otherwise 400 Gradi's bar has emerged kicking tasty goals. 400 Gradi Cicchetti, 99b Lygon St, Brunswick East, Vic, (03) 9380 2320. MICHAEL HARDEN

BRISBANE
Chur on Constance 
Just when you thought you couldn't face another burger joint, up pops Chur. The brioche-style, shiny-topped buns, lightly speckled with sesame seeds and slightly charry at the edges, are just the start. Everything is designed to ratchet flavours up a notch: tomato jam and Dijon-laced mayo work magic in a juicy beef, cheese and pickle combo, while mint sauce, aïoli and feta punch up medium-rare lamb. It's a luscious world of pleasure for $10. Set street-side at the Tryp Hotel, Chur's interiors are airy, with walls covered in vibrant graffiti and a mixture of comfy horseshoe-shaped booths and padded milk churn-style stools. You'll have to queue to order and the incessant doof-doof of the stereo makes conversation impossible, but your mouth will be too busy elsewhere to care. A salted-caramel milkshake comes cold and old-style in a steel cup, but there's also the offer of a frosty Moa Methode pilsner. It's all quite chur. Chur on Constance, 20 Constance St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, (07) 3319 7890. FIONA DONNELLY

PERTH
Steves 
You (and your credit card) might be familiar with Steves, the high-end bottle shop; now meet Steves, the neighbourhood wine bar. Following 18 months of patient renovations, Nedlands' favourite wine store now offers a drink-in experience on a par with its take-home proposition. Tables. Banquettes. A fetching timber bar. A new bistro menu big on French comfort à la coq au vin and steak tartare with brilliant potato crisps. While all these peripherals make for a great night out, much of the bar's appeal can be attributed to its two sommeliers, Michael Hartley and Jesse Lewis. Between the former's knowledge of France's big guns (many of which you'll find in the store's fabled cellar) and the latter's love of left-field drinking, the duo are well qualified to answer all your wine queries. The only question they might struggle with: why didn't Steves open its wine bar sooner? Steves, 30 The Avenue, Nedlands, WA, (08) 9386 3336. MAX VEENHUYZEN

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


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