Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week, including Bin 72, Black Market, Africola and Obunmee.
Out of the fire pit and straight into your mouth. This is the way chef Duncan Welgemoed likes it at Africola, his bold and brilliant African dining room and bar. Bites are based on the food he grew up with in South Africa and while there's a vast amount of grilled and roasted meat - especially on the giant braai plate, with boerewors and rare beef rib for two - the stars are the seafood dishes. Fermenting, brining and the use of seaweeds are recurring themes in the likes of raw squid with young coconut, fermented kohlrabi and green mango, charcoal-grilled prawns with preserved pumpkin, and lightly cured chunks of kingfish with preserved seaweed. Strong stuff. And the booze list is just as ballsy, whether it's the cream of the more out-there local producers, or some wild imports. For the best vantage point, sit on stools at the tiled bench surrounding the open kitchen, and take in the murals, motifs and artefacts from designer James Brown. The dial is set to party and the city is loving it. Africola, 4 East Tce, Adelaide, SA, (08) 8223 3885. DAVID SLY
Renovations at The Strand centre are ongoing, but if the quality on offer at this hip corner tenancy is an indication of what's coming, things are looking up beachside for Cooly. A sibling of Burleigh Heads' busy Bin 12, this recently opened bar-eatery is the third salvo from chef-owner Daniel Ridgeway of Little Truffle and Mermaid Beach. Interiors belie the shopping centre location, with flattering lighting and a blend of raw wood, copper, slate, stone and polished concrete all used to good effect. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook pine-fringed parkland and the ocean beyond, with glass louvres poised to catch sea breezes. Despite the wine-centric name, it's more about the food than the grape here, though you'll find plenty of familiar names to match with the small plates on offer. Crisp tempura-battered baby zucchini flowers are impressive stuffed with a sweet prawn farce, and the jalapeño dipping sauce takes them to the next level. Strands of pickled wombok work similar magic on the chilli-spiked pulled-pork tacos. There are a couple of girthier dishes listed but you know the drill - grab a glass and get ready to enjoy the snacks. Bin 72, shop 121, The Strand, 72-80 Marine Pde, Coolangatta, Qld, (07) 5536 9903. FIONA DONNELLY
Pierre Roelofs at Café Rosamond and Black Market
The little pop-up that could, Pierre Roelofs' Dessert Evenings at Café Rosamond, is calling it a day, five years, 160-plus menus and countless dessert tubes since bursting onto the Fitzroy scene as one of the first of its species. Those wishing to take the final three-course plus dessert tube (past tube flavours have included jam doughnut, Coke spider, Iced Vo Vo, Snickers and carrot cake) journey at Rosie can brave the queues on December 18. But save the rending of garments because Roelofs is not quitting the pop-up game altogether. He's planning a series of occasional dessert evenings over the next 12 months at different addresses where you'll not only be able to book but also have wine matched with dessert (something not possible in the licenceless Rosamond). The first of these, exactly one day after the final Rosamond evening, is being held at Fitzroy café Black Market, and will cost $85 for three courses, and a dessert tube, with matching wines. So, thanks to Roelofs, you can see an ending, a beginning and, possibly, dessert combinations like sarsaparilla and marmalade and lemon polenta cake teamed with ginger beer jelly and puffed quinoa all in one week. Café Rosamond, rear 191 Smith St, Fitzroy, Vic; Black Market, 123 Smith St, Fitzroy, Vic; bookings via pierreroelofs.com MICHAEL HARDEN
After impressing the people of Pyrmont with their baguettes, the good people behind Harris Street's Obunmee have branched out, opening a new hole-in-the-wall on Quay Street in Chinatown. The banh mi are still a draw (especially the lemongrass chicken), as is the sugarcane juice, and there's barely eight seats in the whole place, but the hook is a small handful of Vietnamese dishes not often seen in Sydney. Chief among them might be the banh beo, silken little saucers of steamed rice cake topped with mung bean paste, dried prawn, fried shallot, pickled carrot and slices of pork roll, but there again there is much to be said for the charms of the salad of shredded dry rice paper with quail's eggs, Vietnamese mint, peanuts and green mango aka banh trang tron. The setting is ultra-basic, but the welcome is warm. Obunmee, 107-121 Quay St, Haymarket, NSW, (02) 8239 5666. PAT NOURSE
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