Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week, including Bistro Hulu, Nantucket Kitchen, Low Key Chow House, and Orana.
Taiwanese food is yet to find a true champion in Sydney. I don't think I'd go so far as to say Bistro Hulu is that restaurant, but it's an interesting addition to the burgeoning Taiwanese scene in and around Chinatown. The menu is big - big enough to take in classics such as three-cup chicken, grilled beef tongue and braised eggs alongside kimchi fried rice, salted Nanjing duck and, ahem, "Sichuan-style pig gut". It's the relatively unusual stuff on the menu that catches the eye, though: prawns with pineapple mayo (creamy!), pork ribs with grapefruit and honey (marmaladey!) and, most intriguing of all, vegetables cooked in sauvignon blanc (bok choy, cauliflower and such with fried tofu; actually pretty good). Tricked-out with more Edison bulbs than your average Chinatown blow-in, it's definitely worth a look if you're in the neighbourhood. Bistro Hulu, Shop 2, 88 Liverpool St, Sydney, (02) 9261 2328. PAT NOURSE
The island of Nantucket, off Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, has long been a favourite holiday haven for American old money. What can we expect, then, when a notional slice of this paradise for the haves and the have-mores, drops anchor at a suburban Brisbane shopping centre? The $3 million fit-out has recreated a chunk of bright, breezy and, yes, tony summer colony style - all white timber panelling, dark-wood floors and Carrara marble features. Menus channel the US country club, covering everything from breakfast and lunch through to dinner via "linner" (groan; no "dunch", thankfully). Go-to dishes include crab cakes - three tight-as-a-drum crumbed patties stuffed with sweet crabmeat shredded over a bed of fennel slaw - but other house specialties include the likes of chopped salads, crab Rangoon, and charcoal brick-chicken with gravy. Nantucket Kitchen, shop MM5, Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, Station Rd, Indooroopilly, (07) 3878 9697. FIONA DONNELLY
Low Key Chow House
Low Key Chow House isn't the first Asian restaurant on Oxford Street. It isn't even the first of its kind to have traded at this address. But, if early form is any indication, this newcomer looks set to be the neighbourhood's tentpole eatery. Much of its bowerbird menu won't be new to street-food enthusiasts, but care in the kitchen ensures the familiarneedn't be ho-hum. A rocking house-made XO sauce binds wok-fried beef flank and spring onion; sticks of smoky yakitori bear thigh meat and crunchy gizzard; addictive Pok Pok chicken wings are as insidiously spicy as those served at the Portland original, only they come jointed for maximum finger-licking fun. Bold, share-friendly eats aside, smart wine choices and tableware and a slick neo-teahouse fit-out make Low Key one to watch. Low Key Chow House, 140 Oxford St, Leederville, WA, (08) 9443 9305. MAX VEENHUYZEN
Many have had their curiosity piqued by Orana's bold presentation of indigenous Australian ingredients, but its single dining option of a 23-dish dégustation (and its $295 price, with matched wines) has proved daunting for many more still. Now chef Jock Zonfrillo presents a scaled-back five-course menu for dinner service on Wednesdays during autumn and winter, and with matched wines it clocks in at a more approachable $150 per person (the same as its Friday lunch option). Seating times are 6pm, with tables turned at 8.30pm, and bookings are essential. Orana, level 1, 285 Rundle St, Adelaide, SA, (08) 8232 3444. DAVID SLY
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