A relaxed neighbourhood bar ensures the food shines as much as the drinks do.

A suburban bar that stands out on a busy intersection, The Corner Dairy has a casual atmosphere that belies the quality of its food and drink offering.

Chef James Cole Bowen was most recently at Le Rebelle, and if his menu of snacks and shared plates presents as simple, there’s plenty of interest just beneath the surface. Stracciatella encircled with witlof gains sharpness from cumquat marmalade, while cured kingfish comes sliced and lolling in a pool of smoked leche de tigre (tiger’s milk) dressed with chilli oil, Geraldton wax and sorrel.

Stracciatella encircled with witlof gains sharpness from cumquat marmalade, while cured kingfish comes sliced and lolling in a pool of smoked leche de tigre (tiger’s milk) dressed with chilli oil, Geraldton wax and sorrel.

This is an expansive, contemporary venue with an equally wide scope. Dishes might look to Italy, Peru, Vietnam (see a bowl of duck egg, black pudding, herbs and chilli) or Britain, even if the Welsh rarebit struggles for impact.

For drinks, expect a strong line-up of craft beers – think red ales, sours and longnecks from Wildflower – and an all-Australian wine list. Service is both friendly and attentive, and keeps up with a space that seats 120 inside and out when it’s pumping.

As for dessert? The barley and malt ice-cream with beer caramel is, like the Dairy itself, an impressive balancing act. A welcome newcomer, and then some.