Salted & Hung

The buzz: Unlisted Collection’s meaty Australian restaurant 5th Quarter began life at the dungeon-chic Hotel Vagabond over a year ago, but its reincarnation as standalone spot Salted & Hung on Purvis Street has been much more successful, and the focus on grilled, cured meats and underused cuts has really come into its own at the new space.

The vibe: The casual, long, high-ceiling space and its open kitchen are much more in line with cheerful, Brisbane-born chef Drew Nocente’s cooking style: comforting flavors with an undercurrent of the exotic, presented with minimal fuss and lots of juxaposition. In short, it’s hip and Instagrammable. We do have to say, though, we cringe a little (sometimes a lot) at the making-light-of-totalitarianism, Orwell/Animal Farm murals and quotes on the walls.

The food: With prevalent char flavors and some Japanese influences, the food here is soulful but packs plenty of surprises. The fearsome looking hamachi collar, finished in the Josper grill, for example, comes with kale, French beans and hints of lard ($28). Adventurous types should get the veal sweetbreads with fermented cabbage ($10). Other standouts on the small plates section include the squid with wakame and ink ($12) and the mackerel with gin, horseradish and nori ash ($18). Desserts are hearty, but still have precious little touches, as in the bergamot gel and milk chocolate ice cream that accompanies the Peanut Butter Tim Tam. If the prices seem surprisingly affordable, that’s because they are. Get the six-dish sharing menu for $68 per person. An additional six-beer flight of Stockade Brewing brews is an extra $70. You also have the option of two- or three-course set lunches with an abbreviated menu and wine glasses for just $10 a pop.

The drinks: Australian craft beer is the thing to get there. Stockade stuff aside, they carry bottles from NSW brewery Yenda and Matilda Bay. Bottles range from $13-20. Their five bottled cocktails are all $16, and wines start at $16 per glass and $80 per bottle.

Why you’ll be back: Purvis Street is hot and happening and probably close to work. We love the atmosphere, the prices the smiling staff that is always game for our flirting and much of the food.