Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week, including Stanley Street Merchants, Holloway, and Broome House of Curry.
Stanley Street Merchants
A crowd-funded, up-cycled seasonal pop-up packed with local and native ingredients? Stanley Street Merchants is so now that it might as well be eating a kale cronut while twerking in a onesie taking a selfie (correction: that's so 2013). And yet it's strangely hard to hate - in person anyway. The welcomes are warm, the service is sweet, and there's some genuinely likeable stuff on the menu. West Australian chef Matt Stone (best known for his work with eco-canteen Greenhouse) presents a menu that, though it's sprinkled here and there with showy elements (crickets as a bar-snack, a fried corn-silk garnish, ants on a dessert), mostly succeeds on the strength of its down-home wholesomeness. That could be lemon myrtle-custard doughnuts and good St Ali coffee at breakfast, twice-cooked chicken on creamed corn with Jerusalem artichoke chips with a side of boiled greens at lunch or, after dark, cocktails shaken by Shady Pines alumnus Bobby Carey (we're looking at you, Battle of Darlinghurst, and all the Bourbon, absinthe and bitters you entail). Okay, not so much with the wholesomeness with that last one. Anyway, they're here for a good time, not a long time, so make the most of it, Sydney. Stanley Street Merchants, 78 Stanley St, Darlinghurst, (02) 7901 0396. PAT NOURSE
A holloway is a timeworn path, but no-one could accuse Holloway's owners, self-described creative compulsives Martin Gordon Brown and chef Raffaele Persichetti, of taking the road well travelled. Their West End design studio is best known for its custom wristwatches and classic eyewear, cleverly made from recycled materials. In April, they opened a BYO restaurant - and, yes, it's another eye-catching one-off. From the shadow-throwing lampshades overhead (made from wooden spectacle frames) to flooring fashioned from timber slices and pebbles, there's nothing cookie-cutter about this newcomer. The menu is short but wide ranging - handmade rags of chestnut pappardelle, say, loaded with a gutsy duck ragoût or Portuguese-inspired salt cod-studded bolinhos de bacalhau, or perhaps an excellent beef rendang. Reasonably priced, the dishes are rustic and flavoursome rather than precision perfect, but you can taste the care and respect for raw materials with each bite. Holloway, 69 Hardgrave Rd, West End, Qld, 0439 178 787. FIONA DONNELLY
Broome House of Curry
Concrete floors. Pastel yellow walls. A three-door drinks fridge filled with Coca-Cola Amatil's greatest sips. The frills are few at this weeks-old Indian and Pakistani eatery, but any aesthetic shortcomings are more than compensated for by vibrant, well-defined flavours from the subcontinent. Don't be put off by the bain-maries and familiar names - dishes are prepared before lunch and dinner daily and it shows. Juicy chunks of chicken thigh loll in a savoury yellow curry. Slow-cooking transforms cubes of goat into a rich, fork-tender wonder. Studded with dried dundicut chillies, beef vindaloo is memorable for its hot and sour complexity rather than ruthless incendiary burn. Friendly Muhammad Baig is cast as both cook and front man and does everything from serving diners to roasting skewers of chicken tikka to order. It's a small detail, granted, but one of the many that makes Broome House of Curry worth seeking out when next in the Kimberley. Broome House of Curry, Shop 23, Paspaley Plaza, 15-17 Carnarvon St, Broome, WA (08) 9192 8899. MAX VEENHUYZEN
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