Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week including The Tippler & Co, Ko & Co, and Hanuman Adelaide.
The Tippler & Co
The building that once housed East Melbourne's Café Balzac (opened by artist Mirka Mora in the late 1950s) has been through multiple incarnations, but the latest, a bar/diner called The Tippler & Co, is perhaps the most relaxed and charming version yet. Spread over a series of compact rooms (and a large upstairs function space that catches the overflow on busy nights), Tippler is cosy and clean-lined, blending rustic timber with a terrazzo floor, flattering lighting and framed indigenous art. Drink and food menus are refreshingly straightforward - a single page of cocktails, five quality beers on tap (including Moon Dog Double Lager, brewed down the road in Abbotsford) and all-day bar snacks of the pâté and pommes frites variety - while maintaining an eye on price and quality. The lunch and dinner menus have a southern-European bent, with kataifi prawns sitting alongside burnt sage butter gnocchi and patatas bravas, but the vibe is very Melbourne: flexible, comfortable and walking distance from the MCG. The Tippler & Co, 58 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9416 0618. MICHAEL HARDEN
Ko & Co
The hot tip for this weekend's eats, of course, is the food market at Rootstock; even if you're not all that interested in wine, natural or otherwise, you'd be crazy not to check out the Sunday marketplace. Entry is free, and chefs from Billy Kwong, Garagistes, Ester, Cornersmith, Pinbone, Mary's, Hartsyard, Three Blue Ducks, Vini, Café Paci and more will be cooking up the proverbial storm. But there won't be Korean cocktails with Mexi-Korean snacks. No, for that you'll want Ko & Co, a cute (and loud!) little bar that has opened up next to Shortgrain in Surry Hills. If you like yuzu in your Margaritas, kimchi in your mayo, fried chicken in your tacos, soju in your Pacifico, galbi in your sliders and McCol in your Jeju Island Iced Tea, this is the place for you. Ko & Co, 6 Hunt St. Surry Hills, NSW. PAT NOURSE
Restaurateur Jimmy Shu recently opened Hanuman Adelaide on the ground floor of the Chifley Hotel, bringing with him many of the refined Thai, Nonya and Indian-inspired dishes that built his reputation at Hanuman in Darwin, Alice Springs and Cairns. In addition to Hanuman signatures such as oysters with lemongrass, sweet basil, ginger, chilli and coriander, try the meen moolie with plump cubes of local mulloway in a turmeric, curry leaf and coconut cream sauce; or trumpet mushrooms topped with finely minced spiced pork and prawn in coconut cream and fresh chilli; or savour the flavours of Chinese five-spice in Nonya pork rolls wrapped in bean-curd sheets. Hanuman Adelaide, 226 South Tce, Adelaide, SA, 08 8359 3500. DAVID SLY
Got a hot tip for our Hot Plates team? Tweet us at @gourmettweets, or tag your Instagram photos with #GThotplates.