Albion St Kitchen, Naked in the Sky, No 4

Photography: Pat Nourse

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country including Albion St Kitchen, Naked in the Sky, and No 4.

Albion St Kitchen
Thanks to January's bizarre weather, we've had some random cheese-on-toast days already this year, which makes the star dish on Albion St Kitchen's entrée section all the more inviting. Actually, the combination of Pyengana cheddar, sour-sweet Pedro Ximénez-soaked raisins, French black truffle and asparagus tips (pictured) is a winner hail or shine. It's the same all over the menu at this reimagining of what was once Assiette - Warren Turnbull and the team continue to put some impressive technique on display, whether it's flank steak with sesame, miso and eggplant or the unlikely sounding harmony of honeycomb parfait with pine nut praline and a fennel custard. What's more, it's all the more intriguing for the price: main courses are $30. Albion St Kitchen, 48 Albion St, Surry Hills, NSW, (02) 9212 7979 PAT NOURSE

Naked in the Sky
There are some perfectly acceptable things to eat at Naked in the Sky (jamón Ibérico, a salt-cod burger, crumbed ox tongue, a more than decent crema Catalana) but there's no getting away from the fact that this place - four storeys above Fitzroy with a large, wrap-around, glassed in verandah - is all about the view. There's a definite altitude-enhanced buzz to be had whether you're admiring the cityscape, the local rooftops or the distant Dandenongs, helped along by an excellent range of beer and cider, a workmanlike wine list and an impressive global collection of vodka. Naked in the Sky, Rooftop, 285 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Vic, (03) 9416 2238 MICHAEL HARDEN

No 4
While brunch choices like kedgeree and waffles with salted caramel ice-cream speak to kitchen ambition, evenings are when Tom Randolph and co really step things up. At first glance, the prices might appear steep - dinner guests can opt for either a two- or three-course prix fixe menu ($70 and $90 respectively) - but factor in the complimentary amuse-bouche, Italian-inspired savoury course and pre-dessert, and the value shapes up. Tightly composed dishes like pillows of goat's cheese "gnocchi" in tomato water and glassy Shark Bay scallops with a savoury bone marrow custard certainly go a long way towards reassuring diners they're in good hands. So too the spirited floor staff and dramatically lit room. Here's hoping this new café marks the end of this site's revolving-door days. 4 Blake St, North Perth, WA, (08) 9444 6678 MAX VEENHUYZEN

"Hot" hasn't been the big conversation starter in Queensland this week so much as "wet". Nerves were shredded, but Brisbane's riverside restaurants are nearly all home and dry after Tuesday's flood peak of the Brisbane River turned out to be far less damaging than expected.

Most of those venues affected earlier in the week are waiting for buildings to be declared safe, for electricity to be restored and for coolrooms  to be restocked before they reopen.

Peter Sullivan and Matt Moran's Riverbar & Kitchen at Riparian Plaza went under, but only experienced "minor water damage" in the end on Monday. The owners of Alchemy, further up the river, say they avoided inundation only to cop a drenching from rainwater runoff from their building. Co-owner Angelica Jolly said it was likely to be weeks rather than days before they could reopen. "The gyprock is saturated, part of the ceiling has had to be pulled out and we're waiting to see how the floor holds up."

Javier Codina's Moda on Edward Street in Brisbane's CBD also copped a taste of ex-cyclone Oswald's wrath when a window was blown out of its frame by powerful wind gusts. Jellyfish owner John Kilroy, meanwhile, said he'd expected the worst for his boardwalk-level restaurant at the Riverside Centre, written off in the 2011 floods, but it escaped with no damage and hopes to open for lunch on Friday. "We'd cleared the restaurant, taped the windows and sandbagged everything - maybe we frightened the flood away," he joked.

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