Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week, including Three Lanes and Seven Alleys, Red Hook, Sprolo, and The Flinders Street Project.
Three Lanes and Seven Alleys
And here we were thinking Dixon Street was getting in on the bowling craze. But no - the alleys in question are a historic site in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province, and this eatery is more about bringing nuance to Chinatown's picture of Chinese food than AMF action and rented shoes. There have been other restaurants in Sydney doing the food of Fujian - there was one just around the corner on Little Hay Street, in fact - but Three Lanes is a step up. There's certainly plenty of mushrooms, shacha sauce and other regional signatures on the menu, lychee pork and plenty of soups among them. Braised offal abounds, and the carte is packed with noodle dishes, including a smattering from Yunnan, plus the house special, a spicy beef noodle soup. That's one more of the eight great schools of Chinese cooking covered - now, how about a really sizzling Anhui place? Three Lanes and Seven Alleys, 50 Dixon St, Sydney, (02) 9281 7770. PAT NOURSE
Don't come to this hole-in-the-wall on bustling Gresham Lane searching for serious cocktails and artful plates. You'll find those at these guys' other venue, Public. Here, the focus is squarely on fun, and the likes of the Creek Street Julep and Dr Pepper Depth Charge ensure things go off with a bang. The snacks read like a top 10 of food-truck hits - cheeseburgers, kransky dogs, brisket-stuffed tacos, battered pickles and more. At lunchtime you'll need to queue at the chipboard counter to order, and your $20 Red Hook lobster roll, a toasty split bun stuffed with chunks of crustacean, will arrive in a takeaway box. Ditto the kung fu duck tacos, a tasty mess of hoisin, barbecued duck, coriander and shaved cucumber with shreds of cabbage. Need to sit somewhere less frenetic during the lunchtime craziness? The Gresham Bar next-door has cleverly decided to welcome BYO snacks. Now, that's civilised. Red Hook, Shop 3, 88 Creek St (enter via Gresham La), Brisbane, (07) 3220 0462. FIONA DONNELLY
Aussie cafés might be taking over the world one flat white at a time, but we're still mad to embrace all manner of breakfast rituals back home. A case in point: kaya. It's the rich "jam" (spreadable custard might be a better description) made with eggs and coconut that's slathered on white toast throughout Singapore and Malaysia. And now in Perth it's synonymous with the Canning Highway, too. At least if you're starting the day with Sprolo's traditional Singaporean. A comforting meal-deal featuring gorgeous house-made kaya, thick-cut toast and two sous-vide eggs, it's a winning alternative to the same-old café fare peddled around town. Outstanding coffee is another reason to drop by: the beans are roasted on-site, the greeting is friendly and locals are already firmly on-side. Sprolo, 138 Canning Hwy, South Perth, 0401 625 134. MAX VEENHUYZEN
The Flinders Street Project
Stewart Wesson planned for his new Adelaide dining venture to be a conventional restaurant, but the acquisition of a mighty old-fashioned baker's oven gave the project a new focus. The Flinders Street Project is, aptly enough, all about the bread, not least the dark sourdough made with grenache grape lees. Have it for lunch in robust Danish-style open sandwiches, topped with Berkshire pork terrine and apple, or with roast chicken, stuffing, iceberg and aïoli. Better still, Wesson will soon be doing monthly dégustation dinners. The Flinders Street Project, 276 Flinders St, Adelaide, SA, (08) 7230 1817. DAVID SLY
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