Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country including Gyoza Bar ANN, Yok Yor, Baby, and Malaysian Dining Delights.
Gyoza Bar ANN
The pint-sized, corner eatery at Emporium (pictured left) has a lovely organic feel, with plenty of wood and earthy tones. Its namesake gyozas are little, thin-skinned, juicy flavour bombs which arrive with appropriately well-tanned bottoms and receive a nicely balanced sauce poured at the table while they sizzle. Grab a seat for lunch and a tower will yield half a dozen pot-stickers - try the pork - a stash of rice and green salad for $14. Drop in and say "Hai" soon. Shop 26, 1000 Ann St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, 07 3172 3020 FIONA DONNELLY
Okay, so I'm a bit bitter about the bacon pad kaprow being taken off the specials menu so quickly, but luckily there's been plenty of other good, out-there stuff to take its place. Yok Yor opened a little over a year ago, but in that time has quietly cruised into a position where Thainatown-watchers (myself included) have begun to view it in similar terms to the Campbell Street axis's anchor tenants, Spice I Am and Chat Thai. The core menu is strong: the red curry of pork comes garnished with both blood jelly and pork rinds, while the boat noodles are testament to the time head chef Mek spent running his own soup stall in Bangkok. But it's the specials that really push this place into the zone. Khanompung na goong, aka a Thai-style prawn toast, comes with a chilli-vinegar-shallot dipping sauce, while the likes of mussels and sour bamboo, the red curry of whelks and betel leaf, consistently pleasing kanom jeen noodles and the sweet finish of waffles with Thai tea ice-cream keep interest levels high. Shop G3, 323 Castlereagh St (enter via Campbell St), Sydney, (02) 9280 0001 PAT NOURSE
Yes, it's brash and loud, doesn't take bookings and has a genitalia-themed neon sign that seems cynical rather than naughty, but Baby (from the folk who brought you brash, loud Chin Chin) still manages to deliver a fun night out. The pizza is pretty good here, but the pasta can be excellent, particularly if you keep it simple. Try the excellent slow-braised beef ragù number served with rigatoni - it's classic, deep-flavoured comfort food. 631-633 Church St, Richmond, Vic, (03) 9421 4599 MICHAEL HARDEN
Malaysian Dining Delights
Malaysian Dining Delights looks a lot like your average suburban Asian eatery. Fairy lights twinkle in the window and a steady caravan of takeaway containers gets carried away into the night. But what about the throng of would-be diners permanently camped out front on Friday and Saturday evenings? Like those lucky enough to snag a table, they're here for chef Eason Koh's keenly-priced cooking. Invariably, most will be crestfallen by news the kitchen has (yet again) blown through the day's supply of thrillingly flaky house-made roti. I certainly am when I hear the bad news, but a plan B of utterly addictive salted egg yolk chicken softens the blow splendidly. 111 Manning Rd, Bentley, WA, 0424 522 486 MAX VEENHUYZEN