Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week, including Pinbone at Pei Modern, Lot Twenty, Hopscotch Bar and LP's Quality Meats.
LP's Quality Meats
Congratulations, you found it: LP's Quality Meats might be tough to find, but it's easy to like. Luke Powell brings all the focus and none of the scampi and mirin from his years heading the Tetsuya's kitchen to a short menu focused on carefully cooked meats served hot from the smoker. Kick off with his cold cuts - silken slices of belly ham accompanied by mustard, olives, jalapeños and bread, say - before luxuriating in the likes of juicy lamb belly stuffed with spice-rich merguez, or chook by the half or whole bird, brined for a day, flavoured with a Canadian-inspired rub and finished off in the deep-fryer. Kale with crisp chickpeas, smoky tomatoey eggplant and knockout mash with gravy suggest that the sides are no mere sideshow, while the drinks range from fun cocktails to craft beer on tap and more grown-up wines. It's quality you can trust. LP's Quality Meats, 1/12-16 Chippen St, Chippendale, NSW, (02) 8399 0929. MAYA KERTHYASA
Pinbone at Pei Modern
Any Melburnians wanting to witness the (according to us) "poster-kids of where cooking is at in Sydney circa 2014" in action without heading for the airport should reserve a seat at Pei Modern's latest pop-up. Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman, chefs at Woollahra's Pinbone (that actually started out in life as a pop-up), will be taking over the kitchen next Monday night, presenting a dégustation that will include some of the surprising, road-less-travelled dishes that helped score them a nomination for Best New Talent in this year's GT Restaurant Awards. Their version of "fairy bread" (brioche with mascarpone and fish roe) will open proceedings, followed by multiple small courses that include intriguing combinations like herring and persimmon, flank steak and oyster cream and white pepper and blueberry. Scintillating stuff, matched with intriguing, mostly minimal-interventionist wines. Pinbone @ Pei Modern. Monday 1 September. $140 per head, including wine. Collins Place, 45 Collins St, Melbourne. (03) 9654 8545. MICHAEL HARDEN
Is it just me or do Gary Beadle and Andy McIntyre have a thing for numbers? First there was the duo's Northbridge cocktail den, 399Bar (www.399bar.com). Then came Five (www.fivebar.com.au), the Mount Lawley hang-out doing a roaring trade in beer and good times. For their latest trick, Gaz and Macca have teamed up with some buddies to open Lot Twenty, the duo's biggest and most ambitious project yet. Spread across two storeys and a dinky courtyard, this multipurpose bar has all the hospitality essentials down pat, from snappy drinks and comfort dining (fries served Dutch-style with mayonnaise, peanut sauce and red onions? Tick!) to welcoming staff. Despite only opening a couple of weeks ago, Lot Twenty already feels like it's been around for years, not least because the distressed, exposed-brick room retains much of the heritage-listed building's inherent charm. If track records are anything to go by, it's a safe bet these boys will be instilling the venture with plenty of charm of their own. Lot 20, 198-206 William St, Northbridge, (08) 6162 1195, MAX VEENHUYZEN
Hopscotch is another step in Braddon's evolution from second-hand car lot to the capital's centre of cutting-edge casual dining. The warehouse-like space combines sharp street art with polished concrete floors, exposed brickwork and pipes, and factory pendant lighting, and the kitchen offerings are similarly on-trend. On the plate, it's a contrast between the usual suspects (fried calamari, buffalo wings and a chicken parma) and the more now likes of slow-cooked brisket or Korean pork barbecue from the Argentinian wood-fired grill. An expansive whisky list combines Old World selections with latter-day Tasmanian drams, while craft beers such as Illawarra Pale Ale and Endeavour Reserve feature alongside VB tinnies. With the promise of spit-roasted pork on Sundays, the expansive street-side beer garden will likely draw a crowd as spring approaches. Hopscotch, 5 Lonsdale St, Braddon, ACT, (02) 6107 3030. GARETH MEYER
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