Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week, including Pei Modern Sydney, The Flour Factory, Pike & Joyce, and Les Bistronomes.
Big-hotel restaurants aren't something Sydney does particularly well, but the ante has just been upped with the arrival of Pei Modern Sydney. The original Melbourne branch of Pei Modern - opened in 2012 by chef Mark Best, of Sydney fine-diner Marque - is in the forecourt of the Sofitel, but Pei Sydney is right in the lobby of the Four Seasons, very much part of the hotel, and the substantial menu boldly takes on all comers. It's as equal to the needs of the triglyceride-conscious business diner, who makes the most of the (excellent) $35 two-course Eat Pei Quick deal at lunch, as it is big tables that demolish the raw and cured selection (south coast oysters; salt-cod croquettes, the "ham from the sea" kingfish, and the parmesan shortbread with anchovy being perfect foils for the impressive wine list) before feasting on the roast chook with artichokes, the lamb shoulder roasted with chamomile (pictured above) and other spoils from the mighty wood-fired oven. Better still, Mark Best has promised us an honest-to-god, in-no-way-mucked-with classic Caesar salad will soon adorn the menu, completely free of grilled chicken, white anchovies or any other such abominations. Bring it on. Pei Modern, Four Seasons Hotel, 199 George St, Sydney, NSW, (02) 9250 3160. PAT NOURSE
The Flour Factory
Weekends at Bunnings and #democracysausage aside, the hotdog gets little air time west of the Nullarbor. The Flour Factory, Andy Freeman's new casual CBD venture, looks set to invigorate the sausage-in-a-bun conversation with brilliant condiments (bright and tangy sauerkraut; bitey mustard) and gutsy house snags (chorizo! bratwurst!) leading the discussion. In addition to striking blows for sausage-kind, young chef Matt Carulei and his talented kitchen are equally formidable when it comes to charcuterie and baked goods. Garnish the lot with top-shelf wine and cocktails, and you've got all the ingredients for a summer smash. The Flour Factory, 16 Queen St, Perth, WA, (08) 9485 1711. MAX VEENHUYZEN
Pike & Joyce's Top of the Hill Tasting Room
Chef Sarah Turner, late of Enoteca Cucina, makes a welcome return with a simple Friday to Sunday lunch menu at Pike and Joyce Wines' new Adelaide Hills tasting room. Turner's modest menu comprises just four dishes - red meat, seafood, white meat and vegetarian options - but offers smart spring freshness in a plate of slow-cooked beef topped with red cabbage and carrot rémoulade, piqued with roasted garlic, capers and thyme. It sits smartly beside Pike & Joyce's cool-climate wines, sold by the glass or bottle. Don't expect to arrive unannounced and secure a table for dining; this is one you'll have to call ahead for. Pike & Joyce Wines Top of the Hill Tasting Room, 730 Mawson Rd, Lenswood, SA, (08) 8389 8102. DAVID SLY
Chef Clement Chauvin and sommelier Abel Bariller - veterans of fine diners such as Water's Edge and Sage - have joined forces at newcomer Les Bistronomes. Inspired by Parisian bistronomy, there's welcome restraint in the number of dishes up for grabs, if not always in their conception and plating. Chauvin nails classics such as crème brûlée and steak tartare, and his modern take on duck l'orange is stunning. Fine-dining finickiness gets the upper hand, perhaps, in a busy dish of lemon sole and a cheffy passionfruit soufflé but there's plenty to like, including a heavily Gallic-leaning wine list stocked with the sort of gamay that puts paid to any lingering negative preconceptions about beaujolais. Les Bistronomes, Cnr Mort St and Elouera St, Braddon, ACT, (02) 6248 8119. GARETH MEYER
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