New cafes, restaurants and bars open around the country every day, but some openings are more notable than others. For the benefit of frequent travellers, the hungry and the straight-up curious, Broadsheet’s editors share their favourite openings of the month in their city.
“It’s casual fine dining,” says Oliver Brown, co-owner of the new restaurant under the roof of the Stag Public House. “We’re [turning] that high-end, sterile feel into a much more casual and fun atmosphere.” Setting the fancy free is just one reason to make tracks for Charlick’s. The look is homey (chopping boards adorn the space, the furniture is from Gumtree), natural wines populate the cellar and Blake Drinkwater – a veteran of high-end kitchens such as Orana, Attica and Noma – is on the pans.
The newest opening from the Ghanem Group is Chinese, but not as Brisbane knows it. Set in a 1920s bank building in the CBD, Donna Chang is a spectacular 120-seater replete with high ceilings, chandeliers and pastel colours aplenty. Jason Margaritis – formerly of Spice Temple in Melbourne – oversees an expansive menu that includes egg noodles stir-fried with lobster and XO sauce. The wine list is ruled by riesling, light reds and other spice-sympathetic bottles. The drinking options are more diverse still downstairs at Boom Boom Room, a glitzy cocktail bar and destination in its own right.
All the best croissant-centric stories start in a futuristic pastry bunker. And while technically this one didn't open in September, the Insta post we'd all been waiting for landed on September 28. So, rules be damned – we’re throwing it in. Lune CBD is the sibling to chef-owner Kate Reid’s outrageously popular Fitzroy croissanterie. Reid captured global attention in 2016 when Oliver Strand of the New York Times frothed over her “ethereal, exceptionally flaky pastries”, which he said have a “holy balance of buttery heft and feathery flake”. He also said they are among the finest in the world. It’s standing room only in this tiny, low-ceilinged “unbakery”; a minimalist, concrete-and-LED-laden shop two steps below street level. The menu is minimal too, with just five options: a plain croissant, pain au chocolat, ham and gruyere, almond, and a lemon-curd cruffin.
Harvey Leigh’s Public House
After launching with Wine Rooms by Harvey Leigh’s in August, the rest of Harvey Leigh’s Public House opened last month and has been fast winning over Beaufort Street locals. As you’d expect of a venue owned by award-winning sommelier Dan Wegener (our man counts Print Hall and Quay as former ports of call), the drinks offering is exciting across the board, but the food options are equally enticing. Stop by in the morning for elegant crepes, hit the steak frites for lunch, then return after dark for great charcuterie, pig’s head croquettes and rhubarb and custard mille feuille.
Could the sequel be better than the original? Time will tell, but at this stage of the game, Matteo Downtown offers the same Italian drinking and eating pleasures as the Double Bay original. Taking inspiration from the high-energy metropolitan restaurants of Milan and Rome, Matteo Downtown manages to be both polished yet informal, and as suited to entertaining clients as it is celebrating sealing the deal. A dedicated mozzarella bar serves room-temperature mozzarella delivered fresh every morning (“That’s the way mozzarella should be eaten,” says Campania-born chef and co-owner Orazio D’Elia). And two custom pizza ovens dish out light, elastic pizze; and the daily aperitivo is an exercise in more-is-more generosity.