Eightysix, CIRA Pizza e Birra, Sarti, Toastface Grillah

Photography: Courtesy Eighty-six

Eightysix (pictured) may be channelling the likes of Cumulus Inc. in its form and function, but it's a form of flattery locals are willing to tolerate. A new arrival in increasingly hip city-side Braddon, it's all about shared tasting plates from an evolving blackboard menu. Pickled pork terrine, hand-cut steak tartare, and punchy bream ceviche are musts for starters. Kick on with some sharply plated vitello tonnato - the veal just pink and tuna mayo perfectly piquant. Weekend breakfast options such as brioche, honeycomb and ricotta look promising, too. Gen Y is very much in charge of the asylum here, with tablet-tapping inner-city types sipping the Kool-Aid and nodding to a punchy playlist of soul, R&B and disco. Eightysix, Mode 3 building, Elouera St, Braddon, ACT, (02) 6161 8686. GARETH MEYER

CIRA Pizza e Birra pop-up lunch
Italians know their pizza (it is, after all, their pizza). Beer, on the other hand, hasn't always been something you'd automatically associate with Italy. CIRA, the Council of Italian Restaurants in Australia, is out to update that perception. It's hosting a pop-up lunch this weekend to showcase some of the boot's most exciting boutique and artisanal beers and serving them alongside pizze prepared by a host of Sydney's top Italian chefs (Luigi Esposito from Via Napoli, Alessandro Pavoni of Ormeggio, and Eugenio Maiale of A Tavola among them). Drinks-wise, the spotlight will be set on a range of unique beer labels such as Birra Ronzani (from Emilia-Romagna), Terisiana (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Birra del Borgo (Lazio) and Ichnusa (Sardinia). In true Italian style, kids are welcome and there'll be lots of noise, tons of fun and, of course, plenty of exceptional pizza and beer. Pizza e Birra, noon, Sunday April 28, Miramare Gardens, Terrey Hills, NSW. Tickets are $59 (children $25). For bookings and more information visit cira.com.au. MAYA KERTHYASA

The recent departure of chef and co-owner Riccardo Momesso has led to some re-jigging and re-branding at Sarti. Though the modern Italian theme (in both look and flavour) is still setting the pace, former Sosta Cucina head chef Paolo Masciopinto now heads the kitchen, dishing up skilfully cooked, big-flavoured food that treads the modern-riff-on-tradition path. Highlights? Gnocchi fritti, little warm pillows of fried dough flavoured with parmesan and duck fat that arrive with the salumi selection and a brilliant slow-cooked duck cannelloni served with mushroom foam and parmesan wafers. Sarti, 6 Russell Place, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9639 7822. MICHAEL HARDEN

Toastface Grillah
Tasty sandwiches at honest-to-goodness prices? Can it be all so simple? Even if the Wu-Tang Clan reference is lost on you, Toastface Grillah's brand of gooey cheese comfort is plain as day. From the distinctly Aussie one-two of cheddar and Vegemite to the ritzy brie, prosciutto and zucchini swagger of the Danny Zuccho, here's a laneway café reminding us all just how great toasted sandwiches can be. Sensibly priced teas and coffees plus a welcome that's as warm as the stringy cheese and soulful soundtrack make this an excellent CBD refuelling station. Look for the spray-paint mural of the gun-toting SpongeBob SquarePants lookalike. Toastface Grillah, Grand Theatre La, Perth, WA. MAX VEENHUYZEN

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