Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week including Lalla Rookh, Yebisu Izakaya, The Town Mouse, and Dhaba at the Spice Kitchen.
More praise for this model inner-city eatery and watering hole? As long as team Lalla Rookh continues making nice with CBD types, we and the rest of its devoted clientele will continue voting with our wallets. The latest reason to high-tail it down: new chef's selection dinner menus, a win-win for groups and the decision-phobic. Will your spread include the same juicy char-grilled lamb cutlets (pictured), braised meatballs on polenta and glorious beef carpaccio with anchovy mayonnaise and mushroom powder as ours did? That's entirely the kitchen's call, but this much is certain: both "il ladro" (the thief; $39 per person) and the more premium "il capo" ("the boss"; $49 per person) deliver diners six value-packed courses of Joel Valvasori-Pereza's thoroughly satisfying cucina Italiana. Lalla Rookh, lower ground floor, 77 St Georges Tce, Perth, (08) 9325 7077. MAX VEENHUYZEN
A little goofiness is an inherently good thing in an izakaya. Yebisu, the latest addition to Sydney's casual, booze-friendly Japanese dining scene, definitely ticks the box. Ordering is done via iPad menus, while the food itself has its out-there moments. Gunkan sushi could be salmon roe, or it could be tuna salad, while the rolls run to both natto and tom yum goong fillings. There's "wagyu guts" on the grills section, and fried cheese, Japanese sausages and salmon heads to be found elsewhere. And just wait till you get a load of the turnip Caesar. More beer? The namesake brew is available in the bottle alongside Kirin and Guinness, while the tap beers run to both Asahi and Orion. Make ours a kiwifruit Highball. THANKYOUVERYMUCH. Yebisu, shop 7-10 Regent Pl, 501 George St, Sydney, (02) 9266 0301. PAT NOURSE
The Town Mouse
The restaurant formerly known as Embrasse has been colonised by New Zealanders (including Christian McCabe from Wellington's Matterhorn), who have given the space a moodily elegant fit-out - shiny black tiles, a small and lovely horseshoe bar, Scandi-influenced timber furniture - and a menu of gorgeously plated food perfectly pitched to the flexible dining crowd. The smaller end of the spectrum offers some of the best-looking snacks in town, such as a superb venison tartare, studded with slices of crisp pear and flavoured with pickled radish, ginger and wasabi. Looks great, tastes better and bodes well for The Town Mouse becoming a primo Carlton hangout. The Town Mouse, 312 Drummond St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9347 3312. MICHAEL HARDEN
Dhaba at the Spice Kitchen
Ragini Dey marks the release of her recipe book, Spice Kitchen (SBS/Hardie Grant Books), with a host of new items on the menu at her iconic suburban restaurant, Dhaba at the Spice Kitchen. Try a bite-sized appetiser of Ragini's sweet and tangy take on gol gappa (a crisp wheat-flour balloon filled with a scoop of curried potato, chickpeas and tamarind yoghurt) or finish with an unusual but fab dessert of baked saffron yoghurt pudding atop tomato compote. Dhaba at the Spice Kitchen, 252 Kensington Rd, Leabrook, SA, 08 8431 4288. DAVID SLY
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