Run by husband and wife team Luiza and Marcello Guzzo, Justine Grill sits unexpectedly on a leafy corner of Hunters Hill. Exposed brick, white paint and dark wood fit out a cosy, modern interior that feels a bit like a rural gastropub. To start, Crispy Quail ($25) is too tempting to go past, and sufficiently moreish to result in unbecoming bone-gnawing. The choice of two main steaks (it is Brazilian after all) produces a blushing Beef Eye Fillet ($36) with jammy shiitakes and potato fondant – ideal with a peppery glass of Willows Shiraz ($57/bottle) from the South American-studded wine list. The standout, however, is the Moqueca Bahiana ($33), a northern Brazilian curry with chunks of barramundi and mussels. It is both rich and indulgent while still being gently spiced and aromatic. Both the Honeycomb Parfait ($15) and Chilled Apple and Rhubarb Crumble ($15) are elegant dishes to finish with, balancing decadence with freshness; so it seems unfortunate that the latter is garnished with a syringe full of crème anglaise. Indeed, the showy flourishes of technical prowess on some of the dishes don’t seem to add much (see: foams, gels), but they’re sins I’m prepared to forgive for another mouthful of that delicious moqueca.
54 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill
Ph: (02) 9817 6289 justinegrill.com.au
Modern Australian, Brazilian $$$$