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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.

Hot Plates: Vaquero Dining, Albion

Coal fired octopus, sobrasada oscura, spiced tomato chutney

Coal fired octopus, sobrasada oscura, spiced tomato chutney

No cowboys are to be found at Albion's newest smart-casual spot. Instead there's plenty of charcuterie, batched cocktails and a slick fit-out.

There isn't usually much call for queue-control measures outside restaurants in inner-city Albion, but the latest offering from Nick Pinn and Laurie Rogencamp, operators of Newstead's Malt Pier, Brisbane's Malt Dining and boutique bottle shop Malt Traders, is a bona fide attention grabber with a doorway cordoned off with a red silk rope.

Yarra valley trout with tiger prawns, white onion, currents and pine nuts.

Vaquero packs pleasing swagger. Access to the casual but smart restaurant and bar is through a tiny butchery nook out front, which retails dry-aged beef and charcuterie, much of which is made in house. The smoky, meaty tang of smallgoods raise expectations nicely. The store is separated from the restaurant by a glazed charcuterie and dry-ageing cabinet and the long, slender space beyond is open plan, but neatly divided into sections.

At its core, there's an eye-catching brass-topped bar and a variety of seating, ranging from a large communal-style table in a covered, cobbled courtyard at the rear to curved banquettes, and a variety of bar and table dining. A line-up of batched cocktails adorns a backlit bar to bolster the drinks they make to order, plus there's a commendable line-up of interesting wines by the glass and a decent beer selection.

Corned beef cheek with pickled cucumber and celeriac cream.

Just as the flattering fit-out and well-balanced drinks list pack in texture, so too does the lightly Spanish-influenced sharing menu.

Rounds of briny-sweet scallop boudin sausage are offset by pickled fennel, vibrant dots of parsley oil and an airy scallop mousse topped with deep-fried cauliflower.

Char-grilled octopus tentacles share a plate with a chilli-laden, ink-black sobrasada oscura and a dollop of forthright tomato pickle, while savoury Manchego custard and a toasty hazelnut dukkah prove happy sidekicks for a mix of coal-grilled carrots.

It's not the sort of sustenance you'd envisage a stereotypical Latin cowboy vaquero fuelling up on - we're thinking here of the dry-aged rump cap that's cooked sous-vide before hitting the Josper oven (why?). But Vaquero is assuredly a spot worth roping in a crowd for.

Vaquero Dining, 344 Sandgate Rd, Albion, Qld, (07) 3862 3606, vaquerodining.com.au

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