Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week including Chur Burger, Cumulus Up, Monty's Chocolates and Me Wah.
Warren Turnbull and the Albion St Kitchen (née Assiette) team like to keep busy. So much so that at lunchtime, Tuesday to Friday, they sell burgers from a hole-in-the-wall shop they've constructed out the back of the restaurant. And, by golly, they're good. The beef number (pictured) certainly sets the standard: chuck and brisket amped up with the addition of aged beef fat, the meat nicely proportioned with an excellent soft bun, gooey cheese, mustard mayo, pickles and tomato jam. Like the spicy chicken, pulled pork, crumbed Chatham Island cod and chickpea-based vego versions, it's $10. Score! Chur Burger, 10 Beauchamp La, Surry Hills, NSW. PAT NOURSE
Cumulus Inc.'s brand new upstairs wine bar is a beautifully serene space (with design courtesy of co-owner Pascale Gomes-McNabb) and plays host to a cracking wine list and sublime bar food from owner-chef Andrew McConnell. It's difficult to tell which dish on the compact menu is most destined for cult status, but a frontrunner would have to be the duck waffles. They're gorgeous little savoury numbers stuffed with duck meat and topped with piped foie gras and a little prune. Sophistication and childish delight in one cute package. Cumulus Up, Level 1, 45 Flinders La, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9650 1445. MICHAEL HARDEN
Pralus, Coppeneur, L'Artisan du Chocolat, Charbonnel et Walker - the rollcall of renowned chocolate makers present and correct on the shelves of Monty's Chocolates is enough to make a hardened chocoholic melt. It's impossible not to dither faced with such delicious choices, so instead order a tasting plate and sample a broad cross-section in one fell swoon. Treats range from owner Steve Sheldon's ridiculously rich hot chocolate, created from locally crafted couverture with beans he imports from Madagascar (along with Menakao chocolate), through to François Pralus's 100 per cent cacao chocolate, L'Artisan du Chocolat's famous salty liquid caramel balls, roasted cocoa beans in 70 per cent dark chocolate, and more. A new Monty's opened its doors on Edward Street, at the end of 2012, joining the original on Latrobe Terrace in Paddington. Both double as cafés, dispensing Queensland's Supreme Roasters coffee, whereas sister shop on Wickham Terrace is retail only. Monty's Chocolates, 288 Edward St, Brisbane, Qld, (07) 3211 7541. FIONA DONNELLY
A recent rewrite of Me Wah's yum cha menu has coincided with the dim sum reaching new levels of excellence. Some dishes, like the scallop and celery dumplings, wrapped in a bright orange wrapper flavoured with carrot purée, or the mushroom dumplings, made from mixed local mushrooms and scented with truffle, are unique. Others, like the xiao long bao ("Shanghai pork dumplings" on the menu), are more orthodox. Classic or not, they're all of the highest quality. The go-to dish, though, is the daikon radish cubes: small cubes of radish cake are pan-fried, which makes the ratio of crisp to soft spot-on, and the dish is finished with house-made XO sauce. Yum cha is only available on Saturday and Sunday and bookings are recommended. Me Wah, 16 Magnet Court (off Sandy Bay Rd), Sandy Bay, Tas, (03) 6223 3688. SUE DYSON AND ROGER McSHANE