Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week including Moon Park, Billy Kart Kitchen, Golden Boy, and Miki's Open Kitchen.
Is this the genre-busting Korean restaurant we've all been waiting for? Former Claude's chefs Eun Hee An (who happens to be Korean) and Ben Sears (who happens to know his onions) as chefs and co-owners are certainly making all the right moves on the plate. Dishes familiar from the canon are invested with fresh lightness and intensity of flavour (the fried chicken and the good old mussel pancake being key examples). Ddokeokki rice cakes arrive covered in shavings of peanut, and bulgogi is reimagined as a burger-filling of sorts, but there are also touches of royal Korean cooking in the superb likes of the summer chicken, the pieces of poached bird sharing the plate with an elegant arrangement of pine nut, pickled rose, date and mushroom. Manager-sommelier-co-owner Ned Brooks has written an excellent and thoroughly exciting drinks list, possibly the only document of its ilk in the country that features a natural I Clivi spumante, premier-cru Billaud-Simon Chablis and cans of OB Lager on the same single A4 page. One caveat: the room, which looks out over Redfern Park (aka Goon Park), is very basic and, when full, very loud. All the magic is on the table. Moon Park, level 1, 34b Redfern St, Redfern, NSW, (02) 9690 0111. PAT NOURSE
Billy Kart Kitchen
Suburban cafés aren't usually the natural habit of TV chefs, but if the experience at Ben O'Donoghue's Billy Kart Kitchen (pictured above) is anything to go by, that's a damn shame. You can feel the love that's been poured into this former corner store. Every item in the airy, light-filled space - from the turquoise La Marzocco coffee machine to the old shop sign nestling in its leafy vertical garden - has been chosen with care. It all feels effortless, rather than try-hard and the food matches the aesthetic. Tasty shreds of pulled pork find a perfect partner in a slaw that's more like a zingy Asian salad and flavours are dialled up a notch by an accompanying chilli-spiked baja sauce. Gin-cured salmon with beetroot is a more delicate affair but still packs similar precision and punch. This is one chef following his own advice about keeping it local. Billy Kart Kitchen, 1 Eric Cres, Annerley, Qld, (07) 3392 9275. FIONA DONNELLY
The Thai street food of chef Nu Suandokmai at Golden Boy is best enjoyed with an array of shared plates. Bring a horde: the menu is bursting with attractive options, making it difficult to choose just a few dishes. The easiest is to order a "tuk-tuk", the kitchen's selection of six dishes for $48 per person; its highlights include seared tuna sashimi with galangal, soy and lime, caramelised pork hock with nam jim salad, and fabulous son-in-law eggs with tamarind chilli caramel and pickled cucumber. Golden Boy, 309 North Tce, Adelaide, SA, (08) 8227 0799. DAVID SLY
Miki's Open Kitchen
The arrival of Margaret River's first Japanese eatery has been a long time coming, but Mikihito Nagai is ensuring it's been worth the wait. At Miki's Open Kitchen, a dedicated counter restaurant, West Australian seafood is transformed into marvels of the elegant tempura variety with Miki's own original flavour. Additionally, Shark Bay whiting rolled into a nori cigar with umeboshi plum and shiso leaves, then sliced into bite-sized pieces is a picture of marine sweetness. Panko-crumbed Esperance scallops are a study in crunchy-juicy wonderment, while masago arare (rice cracker beads) lend crunch to hunks of Augusta snapper served with mentaiko aïoli. Meanwhile, sake- and soy-braised pork belly, and tender beef tataki rendered fragrant by wasabi ponzu show there's further depth to the kitchen. It's currently BYO, but will soon be licensed. Miki's Open Kitchen, Shop 2, 131 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River, WA, (08) 9758 7673. MAX VEENHUYZEN
We Want Change
This weekend, cafés serving Five Senses coffee around Australia will be donating all their java revenues to Nanhi Kali, a charity that helps young Indian girls from socially and economically marginalised families get an education. For the price of a regular coffee you'll be able to try a selection of micro-lot offerings from Five Senses in both espresso and filter form, and they'll taste all the better for the knowledge that your coin is going towards something beyond the cup. "It's going to be a really great weekend," says Five Senses quality manager Ben Bicknell. "This year we're hoping to end up sponsoring as many as 100 girls. Come on down." For more information, and to find a participating café near you, visit the Five Senses website. MAYA KERTHYASA
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