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The Hottest Australian Restaurants in L.A. Right Now

| March 6, 2018 | Food & Drink



Both inside and out, on its idyllic 5,500-square-foot rooftop, E.P. & L.P. delivers on the spirit from Down Under thanks in part to subtle design references (a neon sign reading “young & free” is a line from the national anthem) crafted by renowned Melbourne firm Projects of Imagination. It’s an inviting atmosphere serving modern Asian, the “national cuisine of Australia,” adapted with fresh, seasonal California bounty, and drawing the likes of Ruby Rose, the Hemsworths and Joel Edgerton, says co-owner Grant Smillie. And it’s about to get a sister in the form of SOL (Strings of Life), WeHo’s answer to Australia’s iconic cafes, where science and skill combine for well-brewed magic. “With barista world champs working the machines, you cannot get a bad coffee in Melbourne,” says Smillie (he recommends “tremendous exponents of Australian cafe culture Higher Ground, Kettle Black and Auction Rooms”), whose forthcoming design-forward cafe is chef-driven, healthy and fast. “We plate up beautiful breakfasts and lunches in Australia,” he says. Here, he says, “we want to deliver value, nutrition and a beautiful dish at the same time with fantastic bespoke roasted coffee.” 609 W. Knoll Drive, West Hollywood



Business partners Bonnie Shearston and Tom Sanceau opened two restaurants in Brisbane before branching out to Echo Park, which they fell in love with on their very first visit to LA. Diners at Pollen, their casual neighborhood restaurant, which will soon offer three meals a day (dinner starts this spring), can expect Australian-inflected modern comfort food like lemon and poppy seed pancakes and avocado lettuce wraps, featuring veggies from their own farm. Efforts to reduce their carbon footprint include composting and forthcoming beehives, and coffee (never drip) at the breezy, mostly outdoor venue is subjected to incredibly high standards. “There’s a natural synergy between Australia and California,” says Sanceau, who cites Melbourne’s Higher Ground, Brisbane’s Sourced Grocer and Sydney’s Chiswick as inspiration. “The climate and coastline play a big role. Also, the people know how to have fun and not take themselves too seriously.” Adds Shearston, “We often thought about expanding to Sydney, but there was just something a bit more edgy about LA!” 2100 Echo Park Ave., LA, 323.486.7650



Restaurateur Nick Mathers left New South Wales for NYC, where he opened burgercentric Ruby’s before premiering Eveleigh on Sunset Boulevard (popular with Sam Worthington, Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake), then Goldie’s and most recently Little Ruby by the beach in Santa Monica. Although he calls his brand of cuisine “California modern,” he explains that “in Australia we grew up eating like that—we knew the farmers.” The Aussie cafe concept, he says, is like an American diner but with far better quality and thoughtful presentation. “You can get a great breakfast and a grain bowl or fish for lunch or dinner, and a spritz or pressed green juice. You go two or three days a week.” Casual service is designed to make you feel special, “whether you’re Brad Pitt or the grandma up the road.” Sydney-born, Mathers is returning to his roots with Little Ruby (where the Bronte burger and Green Eggs Bowl are menu standouts, plated on pricy handmade ceramics) and even more so with his as-yet-unnamed oceanview rooftop bar that he likens to Sydney’s famed seaside Coogee Pavilion with a dash of Bondi’s iconic Icebergs. Opening before summer, Mathers’ passion project is sure to be an instant hit for sundowners and Sunday day drinking. 109 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, 424.322.8353,



The most important influence for this Venice newbie’s concept was “the Australian beach cafe lifestyle we know from the beaches of Sydney: We love that no-frills, laid-back atmosphere of the all-day cafe—sandy feet welcome!” says coowner Sam Trude. Italy, Greece, Spain, Bali and South America also informed the airy aesthetic and marble-topped tables, where special intimate beer- and winepaired ticketed dinners created by the two female head chefs (not Aussie) will give way to permanent dinner service come summer. Vittoria Coffee—Australia’s No. 1 brand—is joined by matcha and turmeric lattes, on-tap kombucha and flower-topped smoothies, while typical dishes like corn fritters (served with a poached egg, charred avocado salsa and fresh greens with a halloumi cheese add-on) and a fried chicken burger have made regulars out of stars including Connie Britton and Sophia Bush. Additionally, “a ton of Australian-born celebrities have frequented Great White, particular during pilot season or during their break from filming, as we’re a small slice of back home,” says Trude. It’s a wrap, mate! 1604 Pacific Ave., Venice, 424.744.8403,


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