Ryan Kennedy uncovered this Brazilian newcomer in an unlikely location...
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