The journey so far

So what better way to begin than to look back to where we’ve come from. In this case, a recap at some dishes over the past year that have made it so memorable.

The two restaurants that stood out to me the most were Attica and Momofuku Seiōbo (in Sydney I know, but great food is great food, no matter where it’s located). Both of these serve dishes taking inspiration from Australia’s native ingredients, and pushing the boundaries of creativity with flavour combinations and the dining experience. Ben Shewry’s food has never been better, and Attica is rightly at the forefront of the Melbourne dining scene.

Momofuku itself has brought a mini-revolution to the dining scene, breaking free from the usual expectations of fine dining with chefs serving the food, seats right at the kitchen, and David Chang’s own musical tastes pumping into the room (and yes the booking experience!). The overall experience cannot be expressed in words, it’s a breath of fresh air. Shooting straight to 3 hats in the Sydney Good Food Guide, and winning Best New Restaurant,

In Melbourne, Vue de Monde’s new home on the 55th floor of the Rialto building has also given new life into Shannon Bennett’s restaurant. The view is breathtaking, especially when the sun sets, and an element of whimsy and theatre ensures the evening is more than just the delicious food. From the walk through the wine cellar when you arrive, the table settings and furnishings, to the playful reinterpretations of classics cooked in the open kitchen.

The past year (or so) can be marked by the abundance of two things: Salted Caramel and Mexican food. Neither of which is a bad thing in my book.

Darren Purchese of Burch and Purchese not only uses salted caramel in a wickedly decadent dark chocolate and mandarin cake, but you can also satisfy those cravings by buying it by the jar. Watch this space for a blog on their Sweet Studio Sessions coming soon.

The mexican food of days gone by has been replaced by fresh, clean flavours, usually served after a wait! Mamasita was one of the leaders in the craze of “no bookings” restaurants, difficult for customers but a necessary evil for restaurateurs. The other no bookings hit being Chin Chin, serving up modern, pan-Asian.

So here are some of the dishes and restaurants that have made the past year for me. This is by no means a complete list, but we don’t want too many spoilers for what’s to come.

Attica


The amuse perfectly sums up Attica. The walnut puree served playfully in the walnut shell, opened at the table, and a foraged cabbage flower on top.


Wallaby (beginning to pop up on menus), bunya pine, macadamia.


The hāngi-style potato with goats curd, is anything but the ‘simple dish’ it claims to be.


Flash-fried mussel, artfully presented.


Native fruits of Australia.


Ben Shewry’s intepretation of the classic New Zealand biscuit, the Aghan.


Momofuku Seiōbo


The Momofuku experience.


Yes, that pork bun, it really is as good as they say, and one is definitely not enough.


Spanner crab, miso, panko. The highlight of my meal.


Honey cream, hazelnut, pear, muntries.


Petit four. Pork fat donut. That’s how Momofuku ends a meal.


Vue de Monde


Kangaroo, beetroot, chocolate.


Duck, marron, raspberry.


Barramundi, tarragon, swede.


Mexican


Pork tostaditas at Mamasita.


Lamb quesadilla at Mamasita. The jalapeno salsa is one my favourite accompaniments to make at home.


Chorizo quesadilla at Fonda Mexican. One of my local lunchspots when at work.


The Press Club


A celebration of Australia’s truffles, which are starting to come into their own with each and every year.


Wagyu, carrots, oats/grains. I’m definitely borrowing the idea of the oats and grains, wonderful textural component.


And the others…


Chin Chin’s Palm sugar ice cream sundae with salted honeycomb & lime syrup. Best experience of digging to the bottom of a dessert with a spoon.


On the home cooking side, proscuitto wrapped chicken, broad bean, gnocchi.

Attica

74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea
http://www.attica.com.au/
Attica on Urbanspoon

Momofuku Seiōbo

The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, Sydney
http://momofuku.com/sydney/seiobo/
Momofuku  Seiōbo on Urbanspoon

Vue de Monde

Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne
http://www.vuedemonde.com.au
Vue de Monde on Urbanspoon

Mamasita

11 Collins St,Melbourne
http://www.mamasita.com.au/
Mamasita on Urbanspoon

Fonda Mexican

248 Swan Street, Richmond
http://www.fondamexican.com.au/
Fonda Mexican on Urbanspoon

The Press Club

72 Flinders St, Melbourne
http://www.thepressclub.com.au/
The Press Club on Urbanspoon

Chin Chin

125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
http://www.chinchinrestaurant.com.au/
Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

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