Best Eats

What makes a great meal in your opinion? Is it a confronting mouthfeel? Provocative plating? All you can eat bacon bits? In 2022, whether you were in the market for some left-field innovation or trad transcendence, these six taste-makers had you well and truly covered. Which nominee left the best taste in your mouth?

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Wan is a time trip back to Japan’s kissaten (old-school) cafés from the Showa era (1926-1989). It serves classic dishes like coffee jelly and melon soda, but it reflects the Taiwanese background of co-owner Elvan Fan too. The terracotta patternwork resembles the iron windows of her birthplace and the menu recalls the noodle shops she would visit. ‘Wan’ means bowl in Japanese and Chinese, and the restaurant is fronted by a bowl-shaped table. It’s filled to the top with different ideas – from corn ribs with seaweed and ‘nacho’ cheese powder for the Tik Tok age, to an update on a traditional Taiwanese beef noodle soup.

Photo courtesy of nominee

Mitran Da Dhaba

Step into the cavernous warehouse that is Mitran Da Dhaba and find yourself completely immersed in the landscape of bustling Punjab, India. Dhabas are restaurants found everywhere along highways. These truck stops come to life with life-sized props throughout the space – you’ll find an auto-rickshaw, a Tata truck bumper built into the service counter, and a sweets counter plastered with Bollywood posters. On the menu there are many tandoor specialities, slow-cooked gravies and lots of snacks. You’ll find many Punjabi dishes not common on Indian restaurant menus in Sydney like sarsaon ka saag, makka di roti and kadhi. 

Photo courtesy of nominee


Somer Sivrioğlu has spent his career showing there’s much more to Turkish food than Sydney’s late-night kebab shops, which don’t actually reflect the kebab shops found in Istanbul, incidentally. With Maydanoz (Turkish for ‘parsley’), he’s celebrating the vegetable-bright food of the Aegean coast. His menu pays tribute to the zeytinyağlı method of gently slow-cooking ingredients so they maintain their vibrance and sweetness. His restaurant celebrates Turkish classics by adding a personal flare (see the charred cabbage kebabs by his executive chef Arman Uz) as well as serving things traditionally (see the Turkish wedding soup that usually feeds entire villages). 

Photo courtesy of nominee

Mamu Penang Coffee Stall

Mamu Penang Coffee Stall is essentially a Malaysian open-air market transported to the streets of Guildford. Like Malaysia’s truck stop stalls or the night markets in the Northeast, the setup is multiple stalls each specialising in one or just a handful of things – one doing roti various ways, another with a choose-your-option nasi lemak or nasi kerabu, a charcoal bbq satay stall and more. Get what you want from each stall, grab a free tea, and sit wherever you like. All the stalls operate independently, but they were all brought together by roti master and Penang-native Mohamed Shaaleem and unified by their vibrance. 

Photo courtesy of nominee

Flyover Fritterie

As owner and chef Gunjan Aylawadi would say, Flyover Fritterie is a homage to the no-name stalls that sit under the overpasses of India’s big cities. Those street food stalls usually serve just a single thing, but Flyover brings together many of North India’s carby and fried street food classics plus some new ideas into a two-story, brick and metal diner in Redfern. Like so many of the stalls that have inspired Flyover, everything is vegetarian or vegan, and everyone is (or should be) drinking chai.

Photo courtesy of nominee

A.P Town

Dougal Muffet is the son of wheat farmers, and perhaps that lifelong connection is one reason the chef keenly bakes goods that are “softer on the land” and are more sustainable than your typical pies, breads, cakes and tarts. His interest in heritage grains and sourcing from the Gene Bank means AP Town pastries are produced with the environment in mind, and with a stone mill to draw on, Muffet and his team are able to turn lesser-known grains into well-baked wonders. A.P Town’s menu doesn’t overlook deliciousness either – from its peppery, cheesy pie made with native Warrigal greens to carrot cakes with burnt butter icing. 

Photo courtesy of nominee