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Mr Porter Eats

The End Of Sharing Dishes

Goodbye, small plates. Hello, big plates. Full-size portions are back in vogue

  • Old Spot chop. Photograph courtesy of Rochelle Canteen

As pleasing as it sometimes is dividing dishes – sharing is caring, after all – who doesn’t sometimes yearn to visit a restaurant where you’ll be given a menu (on which it is perfectly clear without explanation that you can eat roughly two courses, followed by dessert) and order a whole portion for yourself? Not only that, but you hope that the food will be filling and unfiddly, and that you can reserve a table to eat it at. Is that too much to ask?

There are plenty of chefs around the world who are creating food that looks pretty as a picture, but doesn’t leave you feeling satisfied. So taking into account the above requirements, here is a list of restaurants where you can find full-sized dishes – mostly simple, re-imagined classics – and proper seating.

Etta, Melbourne

  • Sweetcorn agnolotti, shishito pepper and tarragon. Photograph by Ms Dominique McMillan, courtesy of Etta

The menu at this sleek, friendly Melbourne bistro is relatively veg-heavy and plates are as Instagram-friendly as the interior, which is all stripped wood and artfully distressed walls. You could merrily navigate your way through the menu trying tempura zucchini flower stuffed with basil cheese, or dark chocolate served with cream and berries, but it’s more fun to pay a fixed price and let the kitchen send out its favourite dishes. Just make sure you ask chef Mr Hayden McMillan to include his latest speciality, sweetcorn agnoletti (ravioli in a light broth) in the line-up. Its filling is a delicious combination of sweetcorn juice, sour cream, shishito peppers and tarragon, which works well alongside delicate pasta folds.

Dress for dinner

  • Acne Studios Elms Camp-Collar Striped Linen and Cotton-Blend Chambray Shirt

  • Mr P. Pleated Wool and Cotton-Blend Twill Trousers

Bea at Barangaroo House, Sydney

  • Whole flathead fish. Photograph courtesy of Bea

Before taking over the helm at Barangaroo House in Sydney, former Noma chef Mr Cory Campbell planned to open a small restaurant that specialised in fine dining with all the tasty bells and whistles. Luckily for us, he turned his back on dainty dishes that you need tweezers to put together to concentrate on producing (sizable) fare for three separate eateries within this building. Of the three, the casual fine-dining spot on floor one, which serves predominantly Australian cuisine, is our top pick. A tasting menu is available, but it’s far from fiddly and portions are bountiful. The whole flathead fish is pleasingly substantial and best ordered with the comforting wood-fired potatoes and the experimental Noma-accented asparagus with ants.

Dress for dinner

  • Orlebar Brown Morton Slim-Fit Slub Linen Shirt

  • Sandro Slim-Fit Denim Jeans

Orégano, Mendoza

  • Spinach, ricotta, mozzarella and egg pizza. Photograph courtesy of Orégano

Simple is the name of the game here, whether it’s the setting (rustic but comfortable, with low lighting and green brickwork) or the hearty dishes. Chef and restaurateur Mr Francis Mallmann and his wife, chef Ms Vanina Chimeno, named their two-floored pizzeria after the herb that is widely cultivated across Argentina. And there are many local specialties, including two empanadas, and lots of grilled meats and veg on offer, but it’s the clay-fired pizzas that people rave about. Each one is thin-crusted and laden with fresh produce, from sauce made with Mendozian tomatoes to Argentine cheeses, mushrooms and hams. If you don’t fancy sitting near the fire pits, pull up a chair out front and watch the world wander by.

Dress for dinner

  • Incotex Slim-Fit Grandad-Collar Printed Cotton and Linen-Blend Shirt

  • Incotex Four Season Slim-Fit Cotton-Blend Chinos

Mettā, New York

  • Freekeh risotto with mushrooms. Photograph by Ms Katie June Burton, courtesy of Mettā

Mr Mallmann’s influence appears to have reached New York, where one of his devotees, Mr Norberto Piattoni – who stoked the fires at Mr Mallman’s El Garzón restaurant in Uruguay – has since gone it alone. Mettā is a neighbourhood restaurant that specialises in grilled dishes based around produce bought from small farmers within 200 miles of the restaurant. The best seat is at the long counter overlooking the fire pit, where dishes such as charred sourdough or crispy lamb neck are cooked. For a hearty main, the freekeh risotto is a must. Glistening with mushrooms and a rich vinegary sauce, it showcases Mr Piattoni’s love of fermenting and preserving, and we can’t get enough of it.

Dress for dinner

  • Gucci Printed Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

  • AMI Tapered Cropped Denim Jeans

National Kitchen by Violet Oon, Singapore

  • Chilli crab in a sweet and spicy garlic chilli sauce. Photograph courtesy of Violet Oon Singapore

Singaporean cook and restaurateur Ms Violet Oon is something of a master when it comes to her signature Nyonya cuisine. This style of cooking combines Chinese ingredients with spices and techniques from Malaysia and Indonesia. The result is punchy dishes that soothe the soul. Of her three restaurants in the city – all decked out with Peranakan mosaic tiles and glittering chandeliers – National Kitchen is our favourite. The fish curry and rendang are both sizeable and flavourful mains, but the real highlight is the chilli crab, served whole in a thick pool of fiery chilli and garlic sauce dotted with coriander. You’ll need rice to mop up the juices.

Dress for dinner

  • Sandro Denim Jacket

  • NN07 Miyagi Camp-Collar Printed Voile Shirt

Rochelle Canteen at The ICA, London

  • Skate aioli. Photograph courtesy of Rochelle Canteen

For years, Rochelle Canteen in Shoreditch was one of London’s worst kept secrets. Despite Mses Melanie Arnold and Margot Henderson setting up their restaurant in a converted bike shed behind a brick wall and not opening at the weekends, news of their fresh and unfussy cooking travelled far and wide. In the autumn of 2017, having run their catering business for more than 25 years and the restaurant for 12, they changed tack and opened a second, this time inside the Insititute of Contemporary Arts on Carlton House Terrace. The whitewashed interiors match the simplicity of the dishes on offer. The Old Spot pork chop with lentils and beans or skate aioli are two of the best examples of the decidedly fad-free style of cooking.

Dress for dinner

  • Junya Watanabe Grosgrain-Trimmed Striped Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

  • Pop Trading Company Phatique Farm Cotton Trousers

République, Los Angeles

  • Fruit crisp. Photograph courtesy of République

Ms Margarita and Mr Walter Manzke’s French bistro in Los Angeles is a welcome antidote to the clean-eating trend that has taken over the West Coast. There’s a bakery at the front and a pudding list – the main event here – brimming with unashamedly decadent dishes. Warm chocolate fondants and strawberry cheesecake are firm favourites, but, for something different, take a seat at one of the communal tables and get stuck into the kaiserschmarren (Austrian shredded pancake) with caramel ice cream. You won’t be disappointed.

Dress for dinner

  • You As Mathis Striped Cotton-Bouclé Sweater

  • Fanmail Organic Cotton-Twill Drawstring Trousers