Saigon Sally, Primal Pantry, Dark Mofo Winter Feast, Ngeringa Vineyards

Photography: Courtesy Saigon Sally

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week including Saigon Sally, Primal Pantry, Dark Mofo Winter Feast, and Ngeringa Vineyards.

Saigon Sally
The sister restaurant to Prahran's tiny, packed and loud Hanoi Hannah, Saigon Sally (pictured) follows in her sibling's noisy footsteps, but opts for more spacious surrounds, a bigger drinks list and a more comprehensive selection of big-flavoured modern Vietnamese dishes. There's lots to love on the menu - betel leaves topped with kingfish and green papaya, an excellent chicken and jellyfish salad, rare wagyu served with pomegranate and ponzu - but dessert is a must, especially the Tira-Mi-Sally, an absolute cracker of a macaron sandwich filled with layers of Vietnamese coffee parfait, condensed milk and peanut brittle. Saigon Sally, 2 Duke St, Windsor, Vic, (03) 9939 5181. MICHAEL HARDEN

Primal Pantry 
Primal Pantry is Brisbane's first Paleo (as in Paleo diet) café-grocery and the brief is to serve "clean" food to disciples of this hunter-gatherer regimen. Sound like shaky science and a recipe for minimum fun? Don't fret. Potatoes, refined sugars, cereal grains, legumes, salt, "bad" oils and grain-fed beef may be banished, but flavour is all present and correct, as witnessed in the Brussels sprout and red endive salad with bacon and slivers of russet pear, or in the braised lamb shoulder, mushroom and nut risotto, and the crisp chicken with Asian slaw and fresh herbs. Paleo means no dairy too, but latte lovers can still opt for cow's milk here instead of the house-made almond or coconut milks. Primal Pantry, Cnr Florence and Macquarie St, Teneriffe, Qld, (07) 3252 5960. FIONA DONNELLY

Dark Mofo Winter Feast
It's only days since Hobart said goodbye to the contingent of overseas and interstate chefs who were part of Savour Tasmania, but we're lining up again this week for more stellar guest appearances. Dark Mofo, Hobart's newest festival, celebrates the winter solstice, and this weekend's Winter Feast will light up the dark, with fire the fuel of choice for much of the cooking. The highlights are chef demonstrations and feasting over three nights, kicking off with Porteño pitmasters Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz, followed by Christine Manfield and MoVida's Frank Camorra. They're supported by 30-plus local food and drink stallholders. On our must-try list are Fat Pig Farm's slow-roasted pork in a bap from Hobart's Pigeon Hole Cafe, Written on Tea's xiao long bao, and Olli-Bella's goat tacos. Dark Mofo Winter Feast, Princes Wharf 1, Hobart, Tas, 4pm-10pm 20-22 June. SUE DYSON & ROGER MCSHANE

Ngeringa Vineyards
Erinn and Janet Klein's biodynamic Ngeringa Vineyards shows off the sum of its wine, meat, vegetable and herb output in the Winter Paddock Plate currently being served at the winery's cellar door. Adelaide chef Simon Bryant, a long-time buyer of Ngeringa produce, has designed a series of five tasting portions to accompany the Ngeringa range of wines ($65), presenting such bold flavour combinations as roast chestnut soufflé with goat's curd and vincotto paired with a distinctive lean style of viognier. An outstanding chardonnay is matched to a chunky pork terrine, and a little beef Bourguignon pie sits well with the cool-climate spice of 2009 syrah. Ngeringa Vineyards, 119 Williams Rd, Mount Barker Summit, SA, (08) 8398 2867. DAVID SLY

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