DESPITE ITS FRESHNESS, flavours and distinctive style, true Australian cooking seems thin on the ground in Hong Kong. Two places I tried with alleged Australian leanings just didn't deliver. Last year, I tried Mezz, which was much closer to the Aussie mark with items such as seared scallops with a bonito custard, and tuna-salmon tartar with a cauliflower panna cotta. But some Australian chefs in Hong Kong have become disgruntled with the unwillingness of their bosses to offer a complete menu of Down Under dishes, possibly because few people here understand Australian cooking. Australian cooking is a style of stovework, not a collection of national iconic dishes. It uses any and all appropriate ingredients and techniques to produce original dishes. It is an inclusive cuisine. It's an assembly style, and it is up to the chef to get the best ingredients singing together. One of the supposedly Australian restaurants I visited in Central offered oxtail soup, tempura prawns, crispy salmon steak, tagliatelle with a lamb 'ragu', pecorino and marjoram, and a Caesar salad with foie gras, which in its best forms is forbidden in Australia. It had boomerangs and a poster of sunny Queensland on the walls but the food was nothing like in Australia. Another self-proclaimed Australian restaurant I tried was essentially an expensive grill-stop, where a very dear aerofoil of Tasmanian salmon came with half a lemon, a sprig of curly-leaf parsley, which no restaurant of any status in Australia would use (it would prefer flat-leaf parsley), and an ordinary beurre blanc sauce. No main course in Australia would be so bare. Few would be so expensive, too, at $180. It is flattering for Australian cooking to be recognised. But it is bad for Hong Kong and my home turf if restaurateurs get it wrong.