When it comes to dining, Melbourne is the envy of the Australia-Pacific region. The city is home to some of the best restaurants and bars in the world, top-notch coffee and is where many of Australia's biggest food trends are born.
It was a natural choice for the first Australian outpost of celebrated Japanese restaurant Nobu to be Melbourne. The river city’s populace are among the world’s most respectful and appreciative diners, a trait that would earn them good favour when it comes to a cuisine that celebrates simplicity and quality. Signature dishes include yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno and black cod miso, the contemporary take on Japanese cuisine well matched to the Southbank restaurant’s lively basement space.
Attica, nestled in suburban Ripponlea south of the city, has achieved its stardom thanks to New Zealand-born owner and operator Ben Shewry. The three chef’s hat restaurant consistently ranks among the world’s best, with Shewry’s focus on superior native ingredients, providing diners with an upmarket Australian bush tucker experience that is hard to beat. Think kangaroo, seafood, wild fruits and nuts, perfectly paired with some of the finest wine from Australian soil and further abroad.
Every detail of Vue de Monde, on the 55th floor of the Rialto tower, elicits emotion. The brooding, black licks of paint, kangaroo leather and suspended lights create a sense of mystique as you enter, matched in intensity by unbeatable city views and a dinner performance like no other. Lucky visitors can dine from the a-la-carte or degustation menus, with the modern Australian establishment’s expert chefs running through the fantastic feast dish by dish, much of the produce freshly plucked and pulled together from their own farm, some 40 kilometres east of Melbourne.
With a feast of restaurants around every turn, you would wonder why Thai eatery and bar Chin Chin at 125 Flinders Lane has drawn lengthy queues since its opening in 2011. It is quality and quantity, with every dish comparable to a real-world Bangkok experience. The dimly-lit space, pumping tunes, brilliant cocktails and world-class bites compiled by Executive Chef Benjamin Cooper, are absolutely worth the wait.
The menu of renowned Australian Chef Neil Perry’s beloved Italian Southbank restaurant, Rosetta, was inspired by his extensive travels through regional Italia. It is both classic Italian and classic Perry – ingredients are fresh and cooked well; everything plated a delight for the tongue – a surprise then that it took the top chef such a lengthy time to open an Italian venture in his growing empire. The daily choice of seafood is always a joy and the dining space itself is a playful nod to the ornate architecture of the Italian renaissance.
High ceilings and an abundance of light are as inviting as the delicious food at all-day eatery Cumulus Inc. in Flinders Lane. Opened in 2008 by Chef Andrew McConnell, diners can feast on McConnell’s take on classics such as the Full English Breakfast, or dig into the ever-changing selection of charcuterie, cheeses and freshly shucked oysters. Fancy a late night feed or after work tipple? Head upstairs to Cumulus Up for an extravagant selection of bar food and a glass of wine.
Global Chef Heston Blumenthal’s award-winning Melbourne setup Dinner by Heston in Southbank lives up to all expectations; it is thoughtful, theatrical and by all means delicious. The unique idea of transporting diners to the tables of medieval Britain - though with a contemporary Heston twist, naturally – is an exciting way to bring history to life. Diners are educated on the origins of each course and the tastes of Australia’s oceans, outback and vegetable gardens are well represented with featured ingredients that include abalone, kangaroo and escargot.