Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week including Khao Pla, Little Hunter, Windy Point Restaurant, and Tricycle Café.
Pla Rojratanavichai has the unusual distinction of having cooked at both Spice I Am and Ms. G's, so word that he has opened his own place in Chatswood is good news indeed. In the shiny, modern and rather loud space you'll find Run-DMC, Nas and Warren G on the playlist, and braised pork belly with bean curd and quail eggs in a herbal broth, an excellent tom yum-flavoured salt-and-pepper tofu, and wok-fried pippies with Thai basil on the menu. Tamarind pork ribs go great with a splash of chilli vinegar, while the raw section - a rarity in Thai restaurants - yields scallop sashimi with lime, lemongrass, mint and chilli (pictured), and an Isaan-inflected tartare that mingles hand-cut steak with roasted rice, chilli flakes and fried shallot. Desserts, too, are a must. Definitely promising. Khao Pla, shop 7, 370 Victoria Ave (enter via Anderson St), Chatswood, NSW, (02) 9412 4978. PAT NOURSE
Shaun Quade Dessert Evening at Little Hunter
Dessert fans and followers of clever young chefs might like to turn their attention to Little Hunter this Sunday when pastry prodigy Shaun Quade (of Royal Mail Hotel, Urbane and The Brix, among other rarefied kitchens) holds his latest Dessert Evening, a dégustation of boundary-pushing sweet stuff. The four-course (plus snacks) menu starts at $65 a head, with non-alcoholic and alcoholic drink options available as add-ons, and includes intriguing combinations such as iced winter strawberries, apple-skin and eucalyptus yoghurt, or egg yolk, ginger crystals, butternut juice and seed oil. Backed by Quade's mission to "strike against the mould of conservative food ideology" (whatever that means), it's a dessert buffet for food philosophers. Shaun Quade Dessert Evening at Little Hunter, 195 Little Collins St, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9654 0090. MICHAEL HARDEN
Windy Point Restaurant and Café
Executive chef Justin Miles got very excited when he read about Heard Island toothfish at this year's Noosa International Food & Wine Festival; now his is the first Adelaide restaurant to order the expensive fish, caught sustainably from deep Antarctic waters. To best show off the toothfish's juicy, firm texture (some liken it to lobster meat) and rich, sweet, buttery flavour (akin to an intense snapper) he's serving a dense cube of pan-seared fillet as an entrée, teamed with a smoked salmon croqueta, peperonata and prawn oil. Windy Point Restaurant and Café, Windy Point Lookout, Belair Rd, Belair, SA, (08) 8278 8255. DAVID SLY
Tricycle Café and Bar
Fresh from a stage at Hartwood in Tulum on Mexico's Yucatán peninsula, chef and co-owner Adam James is injecting a taste of what he learnt into Tricycle's menu. The four or five dishes on the daily blackboard specials list are always the best options for lunch here and they're more inspired than ever since the Mexican excursion. The mole amarillo with braised Robbins Island wagyu, brown rice, pickled chilli and toasted almond crumble is proof that when Mexican flavours meet up with some of Tasmania's best produce the result can be very good indeed. Tricycle Café and Bar, 77 Salamanca Pl, Hobart, Tas, (03) 6223 7228. SUE DYSON & ROGER MCSHANE
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