Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week including Gazi, Cut Steakhouse, Property of: Pilgrim, and Eden Dining Room & Bar.
Named for one of the more hip neighbourhoods in Athens, George Calombaris's latest venture (pictured) is all about Greek street food, or at least his version thereof. The former Press Club space has been transformed into a moodily lit modern taverna/bar with an open kitchen, a wave of terracotta pots covering the ceiling and a pink-lit bar dispensing Greek-themed cocktails. Little souvlakis (or 'souvlakakia') are the real deal with chips and salad rolled into grilled pita with the likes of wood-grilled chicken or soft-shell crab. The slightly ridiculous-sounding moussaka omelette is a rich, comforting surprise while the spit-roasted pork served with applesauce and beans is as good as it sounds. Go hungry and cashed up. Gazi, 2 Exhibition St, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9207 7444. MICHAEL HARDEN
Cut Steakhouse & Tapas
Don't set your heart on a big helping of apple and raisin crumble. By the time you've cut into a piece of Queensland-raised Angus rump cap and forked through a couple of sides (mushy peas and pancetta, perhaps, or pumpkin with brown butter and some fat hand-cut chips) you'll be wishing you'd had oysters instead of the sticky XO-sauced short-ribs to start. These are generous plates, reflecting the personality of the big-hearted Gambaro family who've served the best the ocean can offer for the past six decades. Now they're raising the steaks and Lukas McEwan (ex-Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney) is aboard to ensure the new American-style Montague broiler thrills. Cut Steakhouse & Tapas, 36 Caxton St, Petrie Terrace, Qld, (07) 3367 2886. FIONA DONNELLY
Property of: Pilgrim
Will Priestley's interest in coffee borders on the obsessive, making his Pilgrim Coffee a haven for anyone in Hobart who enjoys discussing the relative merits of different methods of extraction for today's favoured beans. Property of: Pilgrim, linked to the mothership via a hole in a wall, is his latest venture. Despite the disconcerting punctuation, it's a welcome addition to Hobart's daytime dining options, especially for early mornings. It's open seven days a week from 6.30am on weekdays and 7am on weekends, with a quirky breakfast-that-could-be-a-lunch menu. The house-made crumpets are definitely breakfast, but the slow-cooked eggs on braised beef cheek with pickled beetroot or Mexican black beans and charred corn with pulled pork belly and guacamole adapt seamlessly to any time of day. Property of: Pilgrim, 52 Liverpool St, Hobart, Tas, (03) 6234 1999. SUE DYSON & ROGER MCSHANE
Eden Dining Room & Bar
Award-winning mixologist Chad Hanson has expanded his drinks and dining horizons as proprietor of Eden Dining Room & Bar. Chef Mirco Ruthoff is producing a sophisticated menu (whether it's cheddar soufflé with pomegranate, walnut, parsnip and apple or an offal trio of ox tongue, pan-fried sweetbreads and black pudding with pickles), using herbs and leafy greens from the restaurant's outdoor aquaponics system. Hanson has also installed a climate-controlled wine blending room, enabling diners to create DIY drops from eight boutique winemakers' single-vineyard parcels stored under inert gas in 100-litre tanks. This follows the restaurant's ambitious in-house winemaking project directed by winemaker Taras Ochota from Ochota Barrels, with the resulting 2013 Mount Barker shiraz now maturing in barrel. Eden Dining Room & Bar, Shop 6, Light's Landing, Holdfast Shores Marina, Glenelg, SA, (08) 8376 7688. DAVID SLY
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