Our most anticipated openings of 2016

These are the restaurant openings around Australia we're most looking forward to right now.

From the Baxter Inn team’s first restaurant, to hot and spicy Nashville-style fried chicken in Perth, these are the restaurant openings around Australia GT is most looking forward to right now.



Opening: April.

Danielle Alvarez cooked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California for nigh on four years and, after being recruited in May 2014 by Merivale, she has spent the last 18 months cooking everywhere from Coogee Pavilion to The Fish Shop while her own restaurant, Fred’s, has been taking shape. At the March into Merivale launch, she previewed a panzanella of perfectly ripened summer tomatoes, lemon cucumbers and basil from First Farm Organics. Rich, thinly sliced and salted intercostal was grilled over charcoal and served with white beans and spring onion. It was a promising introduction. Fred’s is set to open at the top of Oxford Street in Paddington. A wood-burning hearth is at the heart of the 60-seat restaurant, while there will also be a cocktail bar downstairs led by former Palmer & Co bartenders Sam Edgerton and Toby Marshall.

Fred’s, 380 Oxford St, Paddington, NSW, (02) 9240 3000


Image: Danielle Alvarez

Restaurant Hubert

Restaurant Hubert

Opening: any day now.

The opening of Hubert is mere days away and my craving for oeufs en meurette – eggs poached in Burgundy – is running hot. This was my request when chef Daniel Pepperell announced he was switching from fried pizza at 10 William St to steak frites at Restaurant Hubert, the first restaurant by Sydney’s Swillhouse Group, who also operate Shady Pines Saloon, The Baxter Inn and Frankie’s Pizza. We’ve heard talk of snail sauce and we’ve seen photos of boudin noir, but alas, I’m still hanging out for that boozy bowl of eggs.

Restaurant Hubert, 15 Bligh St, Sydney, NSW,


Image: Daniel Pepperell

Meat Candy

Meat Candy

Opening: June.

A fried chicken shack from one of Perth’s most adept handlers of American flavours? Meat Candy has success written all over it. Nashville-style chicken is the name of the game and Ben Atkinson, former chef at loud-casual favourites The Old Crow and Cantina663, is committed to doing the cult Tennessee dish right, bathing the birds in buttermilk and offering heat levels starting at “southern” and cumulating at “you’re an idiot”. Juicy birds aside, a small menu of items cooked using the charcoal grill and/or smoker will also be offered. It’s another reason to get excited, as is news that Atkinson will be joined in the kitchen by former Old Crow offsider Blair Holdsworth, late of London’s Pitt Cue Co. Although Meat Candy doesn’t open till the end of autumn, Atkinson’s menu at Ace Pizza should give impatient eaters a fair idea of what to expect, not least because it includes a prototype of the chicken he’ll be serving.

Meat Candy, 465 William St, Northbridge, Perth, WA


Image: Ben Atkinson



Opening: late March.

The name Ôter might refer to removing what is unnecessary, but it’s what’s in the mix here that has us excited. Kate and Mykal Bartholomew (Coda, Tonka) have teamed up with chef Florent Gerardin (late of Pei Modern) in the Flinders Lane basement space formerly home to Japanese favourite Yu-u to create a contemporary French bistro and bar. The flexible menu runs the gamut from boiled eggs with mayo topped with caviar to top-grade wagyu cooked to order on a teppanyaki grill, and house-made black pudding served with mashed potato. It’ll be a soupe à l’oignon-free zone, more modern Parisian bistro with a short French-leaning wine list and murals by local artist Bridget Bodenham.

Ôter, 137 Flinders Ln, Melbourne, Vic.


Image: Florent Gerardin

The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery

The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery

Opening: November.

Rodney Dunn and Séverine Demanet’s acclaimed Agrarian Kitchen cooking school is on the itinerary of just about anyone who has a serious interest in kitchen gardens and cooking. Even Alice Waters, of California’s legendary Chez Panisse, wrote after a visit in 2014 that she “Never wanted to leave”. In late 2016 Dunn and Demanet are expanding from their Lachlan base to open an eatery in nearby New Norfolk. They’ll offer similar food, much of it sourced from the cooking school’s garden, to what Dunn teaches people how to cook. That means simple but crisply executed dishes based on extraordinary produce that celebrates seasonal changes. The plan is also to tempt their guest teachers, which include some of Australia’s most renowned chefs, to run special dinners while they’re in town. Open from Thursday to Sunday for lunch, and Friday and Saturday for dinner, it’s set to become another must-do on every food tourist’s Tasmanian itinerary.

The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery, _Bronte Building, Willow Court, The Ave, New Norfolk, Tas.


Image: Rodney Dunn, The Agrarian Kitchen

Zinc Restaurant & Bar

Zinc Restaurant & Bar

Opening: Mid-April.

Looking for proof that the fortune of Brisbane’s once-seedy, inner-city Fortitude Valley is on the up? This could be the clincher. Owner TJ Peabody, a former sales director at New Zealand’s Craggy Range Vineyards, is targeting a mid-April start for his third Brisbane venture. Zinc is a project with an appropriately strong cellar offering, including a regularly changing list of wines poured by-the-glass, ranging from Sassicaia and Cheval Blanc to Romanée-Conti and beyond. The 120-seat Zinc Restaurant & Bar will be “a step back in time” Peabody says, reviving retro classics like steak Diane, oysters Rockefeller and even surf and turf, using leading produce and favouring lighter, more modern techniques. Interiors will be in stark contrast to Peabody’s airy, Hamptons-inspired Nantucket Kitchen at Indooroopilly. Think Grand Central Station meets Orient Express, says Peabody.

Zinc Restaurant & Bar, 757 Ann St, Fortitude Valley, Qld.


Image: TJ Peabody & chef Chris Sell.

Da Cibej

Da Cibej

Opening: mid-year.

No, that’s not actually its name, but with Icebergs’ Maurice Terzini opening Da Maurizio on Martin Place, the arrival of a new Angel Place café/bar/eatery from Andrew Cibej, the first CBD project for the restaurateur behind Vini, 121BC, Berta and Ester, makes for a battle of the tratts. “It’s a killer site,” Cibej told GT late last year. “Quite the dining oasis.” It’s shaping up to be a win-win deal for inner-city Italophiles.


Image: Andrew Cibej

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