Best places to eat at this Mother's Day
You will have to book in advance for this one — a call to the restaurant the day before is not going to cut it. After opening after a huge rebuild in December 2016, the new Stokehouse — designed by architect Robert Simeoni has been pretty much booked out since. It's not surprising, though — the restaurant has direct views over St Kilda beach, a 12.5-metre oval bar and an unparalleled menu from chef Ollie Hansford. Hopefully you have at least two siblings who you can split the bill with
The Waterfront's dining room, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the pleasure craft sailing over Port Melbourne. The à la carte menu is stacked with the ocean's bounty, in pages devoted to oysters, crustaceans and the live tank with lobster and crab.
Try something different with edgy, messy and rough Greek street food served with a side of fun. Opening from 11am, there is a 7-dish sharing menu for lunch priced at $80pp with kids half price. Alternatively, enjoy an a la carte dinner Greek style.
Give the gift of a high tea with over 2000 scones along with ribbon sandwiches and pastries all served on traditional three-tiered silver stand.
Treat mum to two-hat style and win the title of favourite child with this six-course tasting menu. Designed by renowned chef, Teague Ezard, especially to spoil mum at $150pp, or add $90 to enjoy carefully matched wines.
THE PIGGERY CAFÉ, DANDENONG RANGES
For somewhere out of the city this Mother's Day. This all-day countryside eatery is headed up by Vue de Monde director Shannon Bennett — so it'll definitely get mum's tick of approval. If you can't get out there for lunch, book in for a luxe afternoon tea (from 2.30pm onwards).
For the wine-loving mum, Oakridge Wines will stay open for dinner on Mother’s Day, with a roast of Yeringburg lamb on offer for $60pp. Plus, of course, all the best Oakridge wine on offer.
Treat mum to a three-course lunch down on the Bellarine Peninsula for the day, at Terindah Estate's signature restaurant, The Shed, a refined dining space overlooking the open lawns, vines and views of Port Phillip Bay.
PETIT TRACTEUR, MORNINGTON PENINSULA
Massive windows, blond woods, a long banquette, a pitched-roof conservatory to one side, quality tableware and indoor plants placed just so. It's run by the Ten Minutes by Tractor team down the road, and is great for a low-key outing with French classics. Dunk just-baked sourdough into a brothy bowl of mussels, or go for the signature duck a l'orange or a correctly cooked wagyu with hand-cut chips and Bearnaise.
STILLWATER AT CRITTENDEN, MORNINGTON PENINSULA
The produce and the seasonal bounty plucked from the kitchen garden make for a great outing at this lakeside restaurant. Thick-cut steaks cooked over charcoal are a speciality, served draped, with a fiery chimichurri sauce alongside cherry tomato bursts. Kids are catered for with a separate menu, and with activities such as cricket and totem tennis, this venue with accommodation is one to be booked for the weekend.
NEW SOUTH WALES
The Paddington may be a pub reno, but the venue isn't simply a pub anymore. Gone are the days of the Paddo Arms; it only feels right to call Merivale's reincarnation of the Oxford Street pub by its new, full name. They've the padd taken the space, gutted it, given it one hell of a spit and polish, chucked in a few rotisseries and many a lampshade.
A temple to tequila and tacos, Bar Patron brings an air of sophistication to Sydney's sour cream-dolloped Mexican dining scene. Its vibe is Mexican country estate and the food is some of the best Mexican fare you'll find in the city. Prepared by Mexican-born head chef Pamela Valdes, the menu includes dishes such as beef empanadas, el pastor tacos and a tres leches cake (for the sweet-toothed mamas).
If smoky charcoal meats paired with a notable international wine list are some of your mum's favourite things, venture off the usual Darling Street drag in Rozelle. There you'll find The Provincial, a restaurant that's serving up South American food with a heavy French accent. This cross-cultural food baby comes from real influences; the two owners (who are also brothers) travelled to South America to learn the art of char-coaling before partnering with a French chef and sommelier to develop the menu. As a result, smoky meats cooked on a wood-fire charcoal parilla make up the mains, but entrees fly the French flag, making their mark with a mix of more intricate flavours
Start (or end) the meal with a martini on the top floor, Smoke — which is a super fancy cocktail bar with sprawling views across the harbour. Then, head down to the venue's signature restaurant Bea, where you'll be treated to a menu overseen by Matt Moran and carefully prepared by ex-Vue de Monde chef Cory Campbell. Mother's Day will certainly book out, so we recommend making a reservation tout de suite.
This venue not only boasts a farm-to-table restaurant but a spa, on-site produce garden. And it's beautiful. The interior better resembles a domestic greenhouse with floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto the garden in warmer weather, plus herbs, citrus trees and strawberry bushes aplenty. The all-day menu is focused on healthy eating and sustainability — the seasonal produce is primarily sourced from the restaurant's expansive garden and the restaurant's 65-acre farm south of Sydney in the Jamberoo Valley near Kiama.
With floor-to-ceiling glass doors allowing sunlight to stream into a plant-filled brasserie, which is fitted out with curved booths and long communal tables. If it's a sunny day, head outside to the rustic garden, where you'll find a plenitude of daybeds and picnic settings adjacent to the lawns.
Quite the family hub, Sydney's Camperdown Commons — which encompasses Pocket City Farms and adjoining restaurant, Acre Eatery — is a top spot for a big family lunch. The stunning transformation of the dilapidated Camperdown Bowling Club into a full-blown urban farm and restaurant has turned the neglected space into a site for fresh organic produce and a farm-to-table eating.
Give your mum the feeling of being on Italy's southern coast. Sotto Sopra has a sun-dappled shopfront that welcomes its diners into a frenzy of rich sensory stimuli — the smell of freshly baked bread wafting down the stairs from the kitchen, the vibrant profile of prosecco on the tongue, and the sounds of a whole bunch of Mediterranean chefs and waiters cracking jokes in their mother tongue while they work.
The harbour-side dining experience of Rose Bay's Catalina. A waterside institution of more than 20 years, this award-winning destination from Michael and Judy McMahon offers diners panoramic views of the harbour, impeccable world-class service and a menu sporting much-loved dishes almost as old as the place itself. If you're intimidated by the price and/or reputation of the place, take baby steps into fine dining by booking in the bar area and enjoy the finer style with a cheaper price tag.
MATILDA BAY RESTURANT, CRAWLEY
Enjoy lunch overlooking gorgeous Matilda Bay with a stunning vista of the Perth skyline, you will be able to enjoy fresh local seafood and Mum’s delightful company.
Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere sitting by the water overlooking the bay with Mum. Rambla features locally sourced produce including many seafood options.
Whether you’re looking for breakfast buffet, a family lunch with entertainment for the kids, or an adults-only high tea with free-flowing sparkling wine, the perfect option for Mum is here. Perhaps come for breakfast and just stay the whole day!
Take mum to the seaside to dine amongst the rolling sand dunes. Bib & Tucker offer three course lunches with delicacies to tempt every palate, you won’t break the bank and your mum will love it here.
THE FISH HOUSE, BURLEIGH HEADS, GOLD COAST
With a twice-daily delivery of fresh fish, enviable Burleigh Heads location, and a sophisticated wine list. That is just a few of the reasons why The Fish House has been awarded two chefs hats in the 2018 Queensland Good Food Guide.
RICK SHORES, BURLEIGH HEADS, GOLD COAST
Named “One of the most likeable restaurants to open anywhere in the past 12 months in Australia” in The Australian‘s Hot 50 Restaurant Awards 2016, Rick Shores is so close to the water it’s literally lapped by the waves. The food here almost outshines the view. Take your time with the menu and enjoy inventive bar snacks like lamb belly bao, with kimchi peas and fried egg mayo and ‘Ricks’ fried bug roll, with gem lettuce and sriracha, through to ocean trout tartare and king prawn yellow curry.
Crowned the number one restaurant in Queensland for 2017 by Gourmet Traveller, chic dining darling Urbane has long been one of Brisbane‘s best-kept secrets. It’s an interesting formula for success: open only two nights per week, a vegan chef, and degustation-only menu. But, oh how it works. The five or eight-course omnivore or herbivore menus take diners on a journey from the interesting (blue potato, cashew, macadamia) to the intriguing (tomato, pickled walnut) with ingredients changing depending on seasonal availability. Urbane also raised the bar from a consistent two chefs hats to three for two years running in the 2018 Queensland Good Food Guide.
Another one named Restaurant of the Year in the 2017 Queensland Good Food Guide Ordering off the dinner menu will have you sampling the daring blood taco or kangaroo tartare, or keeping things fresh, clean and healthy with the likes of silken almond tofu with eggplant and caper leaf, and slow-cooked lamb neck with warrigal greens.
Winner of Best New Restuarant in the Good Food Guide, Otto Ristorante is the first Queensland locale for the company behind Sydney’s renowned Quay and Bennelong restaurants. Which means to say that it’s good. Very good. Overlooking Brisbane’s Story Bridge, the Southern Italian menu has been designed with the Queensland climate in mind and executes all your favourites, ilke fritto misto, prosciutto e fichi, and house-made pasta with finesse. The gnocchi with braised rabbit and gremolata had us at first sight.
THE LONG APRON, MONTVILLE, SUNSHINE COAST
Hotel restaurants don’t always hit the mark but The Long Apron at Spicers Clovelly is not your average hotel restaurant. When the hotel is actually a boutique homestead in the gorgeous Sunshine Coast Hinterland and the restaurant is the type of place you’d book months in advance for that special occasion lunch or dinner, when the two combine, it’s magical. Head chef Chris Hagan takes his inspiration from around the world, with hundreds of famous chefs’ books adorning the shelves at home. Classically trained, he has a skill for clean precise dishes with excellent balance of flavour and elegant presentation.
When you feel like taking a trip to Japan for the evening, but want to feel the tatami under your feet with views of the Noosa River at the same time, Wasabi knows how to deliver on all accounts. Heralded as the Hottest QLD Restuarant in The Australian‘s Hot 50 Restaurants list, the most outstanding achievement here, however, is the hyper-local sourcing of ingredients. Namely from the restaurant’s own farm where rare Japanese ingredients are grown and the highlighting of lesser-known local seafood. It doesn’t stop there, though, with irrigation coming from their own spring, and compost created from the restaurant’s vegetable peelings and off cuts. With that kind of forward-thinking expertise, we find it best to hand over the reins for the omakase five or seven-course menu – aka let the chef decide.
There’s a simple ethos at Indulge Cafe in Bundaberg: “We know where it came from and how it was made”. It’s part of the reason why the humble Bundy cafe has won the Queensland Good Food Guide‘s People’s Choice award for the second year in a row. The other part is the undeniably outstanding use of fresh, local produce and giving the growers the kudos they deserve. On the menu, you’ll notice the spotlight thrown onto the likes of Pratt’s peak of the season beetroots on garlic-rubbed sourdough toast, goats cheese, Munduberra winter pecan crush and Bills rocket; or Tu’s local Taiwanese steamed tiger prawn and pork dumplings.
NU NU, PALM COVE, TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND
If you want to know what Tropical North Queensland tastes like on a plate, make a beeline for chef Nick Holloway’s Nu Nu (you may have seen him on MasterChef in 2015). Nestled nicely on the paperbark tree-lined esplanade of Palm Cove, with cracking views out over the Coral Sea and Double Island, this is fine dining with its tie not only loosened, but left at the back of the wardrobe.
LENZERHEIDE RESTAURANT, ADELAIDE
Giving the best of local produce, think South Australian king prawns and oysters, Cape Grim beef and boutique-producer quails, finished with herb butters, sherry creams and cabernet glazes, all brought to the table with flawless silver service.
Jock Zonfrillo is a culinary crusader. He’s a chef with a vision, intent on painting a picture of Australia on a plate. And at his small fine-dining Orana on Rundle Street, he caters to adventurous diners who come from all over to graze upon his artistry.
When the historic Adelaide Oval was redeveloped, a striking restaurant space was built into the exclusive Audi Stadium Club. The fine dining restaurant is effortlessly graceful, a calm, elegant space where everything happens just so. Chef Dennis Leslie uses native fruits and plants alongside flavours from his Asian upbringing and French training.
APPELLATION AT THE LOUISE, MARANANGA
Country dining at its very best, with all that is great about South Australia’s most historic and famous wine-producing and food-growing region is not only represented here, but distilled down to its finest. Executive chef Ryan Edwards’ a la carte and five-course tasting menus are refined rusticity. They balance South Australian country flavours and freshness with extraordinary technique.
Barossa-born Lachlan Colwill’s global experience, including a stint with Tetsuya’s in Sydney and Jean-Georges in New York, has seen him hugely decorated. Unrestricted by location in approach, Colwill's adventurous menu recognises the expectations of an international clientele; he brings sophisticated cutting-edge and even theatrical food to a rural setting. He offers no menus, just an intriguing, often playful menu based on produce that is 90 per cent sourced from foraging on the land of Hentley farm as well as local producers in the Seppeltsfield region.
Franklin encapsulates much that's great about Hobart today. It's a celebration of local culture and nature held against a backdrop of industrial surfaces worn to smooth warmth by time and use. A place where a person can sidle up to the bar for a beer and a lamb rib daubed with the leatherwood honey and fennel pollen chef Analiese Gregory picked up on her way to work. Or settle in at a timber table for linguine enriched with sea urchin, scattered with fronds of that same wild fennel. Franklin is a restaurant in its element, a joyous place where a diner feels blessed to be part of the dance rather than a mere spectator. Get amongst it.
THE AGRARIAN KITCHEN EATERY, NEW NORFOLK
One of Tasmania's most essential gems. It's the rare marriage of history and modernity seen in the dining hall's mix of pressed metal ceilings, lino floors and avant-garde chandelier, in the Australian drinks program that favours the brave, and in Ali Currey-Voumard's menu that spins gold from the nearby Agrarian farm grounds.
With barely nine dishes on the blackboard, Templo is about concision. The staff will happily explain every dish in detail, who suggest apt picks from the wine list. The sole dessert offering – bignè di San Giuseppe, puffs of fried choux filled with milk gelato and strawberries – demonstrates that focus and generosity can go hand in hand in the tastiest of ways.
The masterstock pig's ear, thin strips fried and seasoned with prickly ash salt, has quickly become a Hobart classic. The addictive snack is ordered across the board at this grand venue perched on the end of Brooke Street Pier, from the seats at the bar soaking up the open kitchen's clang to the tables embracing full-frontal views of the Derwent River. By name and design Aløft reads Scandinavian, but in the eats it leans modern Asian.
Chef Craig Will, who exercises his green thumb with herbs, cucumbers, eggplant and more, doesn't disappoint. At dinner, beneath the rustic beams of this 19th-century flour mill, he works this and local produce into clever couplings of classic and challenging. Your meats will be cooked in a familiar way but flavoured with unexpected twists, many with an Asian bent: Japanese barbecue sauce adds cool-factor to quail, and thick-cut sheets of kombu and a miso emulsion wake up duck.
Who'd have thought that a rice-paper cone filled with sautéed rock lobster and diced vegetables could so brighten a cool night? It's an entrée-sized reason why Me Wah has been rated Tasmania's best Chinese for dynastic ages. Tasmanian ingredients hold sway: perfect Scottsdale free-range pork belly is enhanced with hoisin; crisp wonton pastry puts the crunch on roasted Marion Bay free-range chicken. Me Wah is famed for its luxe rock lobster and long-braised abalone, but sautéed king prawns, which meld perfectly with lustrous Tassie sea urchin roe, reward going off-piste. It's a place to savour – even the weekend yum cha is silver service