Food News

Coming soon: the most highly anticipated new restaurants of 2021

2020 was a write-off, but hopes are up, and doors are set to open at these eagerly awaited establishments.

Chef Kylie Kwong is set to open her new restaurant in Sydney's South Eveleigh precinct.

Alicia Taylor (main)

After 2020 derailed so many plans, this year will see a number of new restaurants open across Australia. Here are just a few things to get excited about.

Words by Michael Harden, Tory Shepherd, Georgie Meredith and Karlie Verkerk.


Never ones to rest on their laurels, Rinaldo Di Stasio and Mallory Wall are planning to open two new businesses in the coming year. First off the rank will be Di Stasio Pizzeria in Carlton (next door to

King & Godfree on Faraday Street), which will open mid-2021. This will be followed by Bar Democratico, a bar/café/galleria, in the new development replacing the old Mercure Hotel, just down the hill from Di Stasio Città. Di Ritter from Hassell Studios, who did remarkable work at Città, is on board for the fit-out of Democratico. Expect new work from artists Reko Rennie and Shaun Gladwell too. – MH


Since the closing of the city’s much-loved modern Chinese diner Billy Kwong in June 2019, Sydneysiders and visitors alike have been waiting for Kylie Kwong’s next venture with bated breath. Now, the beloved Sydney chef is bringing her next project to life in the new inner-city precinct, South Eveleigh. While the concept is yet to be revealed, we’re hoping for more of Kwong’s distinctive take on Australian-Chinese fare. Emphasis will be on collaboration with the likes of produce from Josh Niland’s Fish Butchery, Palisa Anderson’s Boon Luck Farm and South Eveleigh’s Indigenous rooftop garden. – GM

South Eveleigh, Sydney, NSW


The Marriott’s new W Melbourne hotel in Flinders Lane will include a wine bar, a cocktail bar and a Japanese restaurant, alongside its signature 110-seat restaurant Lollo, where Adam D’Sylva (Coda, Tonka) has signed on as creative director. Due to open next month, Lollo will serve everything from breakfast through to nightcaps, with a menu drawing on D’Sylva’s Indian and Italian heritage, as well as his love for Southeast Asian and European flavours and techniques. The wine list will lean Victorian. – MH

408 Flinders Ln, Melbourne, Vic


Sunda chef Khanh Nguyen’s second restaurant was due to open in July but we all know how that turned out. The extra time has allowed Nguyen to experiment with the menu at Aru, named after a group of east Indonesian islands between West Papua and Australia. Aru’s menu will focus on cooking over coals and fermentation, using ingredients and flavours indigenous to both Australia and Indonesia. Set to open in April, it will feature roast and cured meats with garnishes and sauces like a finger lime and bush tomato sambal. – MH

268 Little Collins St, Melbourne, Vic


Alejandro Saravia (Pastuso) is opening a three-level showcase of the remarkably diverse produce coming from Gippsland, a region in Victoria’s east. The “Gippsland embassy” is opening this month at the 80 Collins Street development and includes a ground floor deli and diner, a restaurant with a “campfire kitchen” on the second floor and a rooftop bar that doubles as an urban farm. Promising a genuine farm-to-table experience, Farmer’s Daughters will also highlight Gippsland booze, including wines by William Downie and Bass Phillip. – MH

Set to open January 28

80 Collins St, Melbourne, Vic


After more than two years in the making, chef Martin Benn and Vicki Wild’s new venture is finally set to open in late March. The pair, who spent a decade at Tetsuya’s before opening the acclaimed Sydney fine-diner Sepia, has joined forces with restaurateur Chris Lucas (Chin Chin and Kisumé) to open their first Melbourne establishment. Part of the 80 Collins Street precinct, Society promises sweeping views of Melbourne’s CBD, along with three separate dining experiences, including an open-air terrace and lounge bar. Expectations are sky high for what is arguably Melbourne’s biggest opening of 2021. – MH

80 Collins St, Melbourne, Vic

Society’s Martin Benn and Vicki Wild.

(Photo: Gary Heery)


You had us at “dedicated cheese room”. Fugazzi will take over the old Rigoni’s building on Leigh Street in late March and hopes are high it will usher in a new era of long lunches at the venerable spot.

It will be old-school, New York-style Italian. There will be house-made pasta and pizza (of course) but also lots of meat over coals, tasty snacks, and that cheese. Fugazzi’s pedigree is impeccable – Simon Kardachi (Shōbōsho, Melt) has teamed up with MasterChef’s Laura Sharrad and her husband Max, most recently from Nido, the Hyde Park pasta bar. And in excellent news, the ever-affable and deeply passionate Justin Lane will be in charge of the wines. – TS

27 Leigh St, Adelaide, SA


The food hall at 11 Waymouth Street used to be the sort of place where you’d run a dubious eye over rows of bain-maries. But a long-awaited overhaul has seen it gradually populated with serious options, and at the top end will be Eleven, an elegant offering by the guys from Sprout Cooking School, Themis Chryssidis and Callum Hann. Eleven will be proudly parochial, matching local wines to local produce to create a modern Australian menu. And forget plastic chairs and cutlery. Eleven will have an (as yet unnamed) accomplished chef and a sommelier, with dining spilling out into a new outdoor courtyard. The bar is already open and the restaurant will follow shortly. – TS

11 Waymouth St, Adelaide, SA


Huami hopes to be not just Adelaide’s finest Chinese restaurant, but South Australia’s best restaurant. No pressure. SA foodies are rightly proud of the city’s Chinatown, which rambles around the revered Adelaide Central Market and tends towards boisterous crowds and cheap paper napkins. Not so Huami, which promises to be both authentic and opulent. Diners can escape to one of three private dining rooms, and admire the 1200 bottle wine wall and huge dragon pillars. Huami is set to open in March as part of Adelaide Casino’s $330 million SkyCity expansion. – TS

SkyCity Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA

An artist’s impression of Huami, Adelaide.


The much-loved formula of stripped-back, Mediterranean-accented, local produce-focused cooking that has worked so well for Jacqui Challinor at Sydney’s Nomad is making its way south to Melbourne. Taking over the basement space formerly occupied by long-running restaurant Ezard, Nomad Melbourne will make the most of Victorian produce and wine from small producers. Melbourne architect Clare Cousins is on board for the fit-out of the 100-seat restaurant, set to open in April. – MH

187 Flinders Ln, Melbourne, Vic


Tasmanian-born, Naples-raised chef Massimo Mele has been appointed culinary director at The Tasman, a new luxury hotel at Parliament Square in Hobart. Mele will bring his Italian and Tasmanian influences to the table, making the most of local produce in the yet-to-be-named signature restaurant. Mele started his cooking career in Hobart at his parent’s restaurant and has since worked at Donovan’s in Melbourne and opened Launceston’s well-received Mudbar. The restaurant and hotel are set to open in June. – MH

Parliament Square, Hobart, Tas


Aria has been a staple on the ever-changing Sydney food scene, and remains the crown jewel of the renowned Solotel Group. Now, the fine-dining institution is set to commandeer one of its two private function spaces, transforming it into a relaxed wine bar. The casual harbourside spot, set to open in the first half of the year, will be spearheaded by Aria’s head sommelier Alex Kirkwood and offer a sprawling wine list with more than 80 wines by the glass and 1700 bottles. There will be a seasonal, produce-driven snack menu created by Aria’s executive chef Joel Bickford, allowing guests to experience the restaurant’s creative style and technique in a laid-back setting. – GM

1 Macquarie St, Sydney, NSW


The last, and quite possibly most anticipated, of Crown Tower’s string of restaurant openings is set for February, following on from Woodcut, a’Mare and the renowned Nobu. Core will be the second of its kind – an Australian replica of the Michelin-starred, farm-to-table eatery in London’s Notting Hill. Headed by English chef Clare Smyth, the menu will hero sustainably and locally sourced produce, drawing inspiration from Sydney’s diverse flora and fauna. If the restaurant’s London menu is anything to go by, guests can expect delicately balanced seafood dishes presented with creativity and flair, along with tender cuts of meat and a selection of intricate, fruit-forward desserts. – GM

Crown Towers Sydney, Barangaroo, NSW


Sydney’s subterranean, inner-city Greek haunt, Alpha, has lay dormant in recent months, with renovations at the Castlereagh site set for completion next month. But there’s something else in the works from the team behind the Mediterranean hotspot: Ploos. Set to open in March, the restaurant is headed for Campbell’s Stores, a redeveloped dining precinct next to Circular Quay, where executive chef Peter Conistis has been running Alpha’s temporary pop-up. Expect Crete-Cypriot creations with bar seating. – GM

Circular Quay West, The Rocks, NSW


JW Marriott Resort and Spa has invested $35 million in the rebrand of its Gold Coast home, and with it comes a line-up of new eateries. Misono, the standout of the bunch, is a Japanese restaurant with a twist. It combines four different dining experiences, meshing them into one “laneway” that will include a teppanyaki dining room, an intimate izakaya, a tearoom and sushi bar. Inspired by the bustling streets of Harajuku, the collective space will also feature a special Japanese whisky bar, complete with its own terrace overlooking the hinterland. Head chef Henry Bongay has designed a teppanyaki menu based on theatre and performance, with the aim of creating a fun and playful atmosphere. – KV

158 Ferny Ave, Surfers Paradise, Qld

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Food News

The best new restaurant openings of 2020

A Mornington Peninsula trattoria, Malaysian done luxe, hot coals and good times in Brisbane, Western Australian barbecue, and a taste of wine country in Adelaide. We raise a glass to the venues who opened their doors in the past 12 months, pandemic or no.