Sunday, March 7, 2010

Melbourne Dining Hotspots

I may have temporarily fallen off the blogging bandwagon but I definitely haven't stopped my favourite past time, eating out.

After the excitement of hearing Pim Té of the inspirational Chez Pim would be visiting Melbourne as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival I decided I better actually get to it and write down out my Melbourne Must Visit List.
The list is formed with savvy internationals in mind but no doubt savvy Melbourne-ites will find it just as useful.

So here it is: (with links to the official website, where possible)

Attica -Ben Shewry is at one with his internationally acclaimed food, a kiwi that cooks from his heart, yet uses techniques to marvel, oh and a great guy to boot
Cumulus Inc/Cutler & Co -You can't eat in Melbourne without visiting one of Andrew McConnells restaurants, I love the relaxed nature of the bar overlooking the kitchen at Cumulus but Cutler is where the pure McConnell innovation is at
Rumi/Gigibaba -Lebanese/Turkish. Vividly fresh Middle Eastern flavours at both sites, usually packed to the rafters so arrive early
Pearl/Ezard -Modern Australian cuisine; frenchy techniques, lots of Asian produce and flourishes Melbourne icon restaurants
Circa, the Prince -a recent luxe refurbishment and a roof top kitchen garden make Circa feel like a new, yet strangely very familiar old favourite restaurant
Giuseppi, Arnaldo and Sons -Maurice Terzini's Melbourne outpost (home-post?) and the perfect moody spot especially for a late meal or snack (website is nearly useless, try my posts)
Hellenic Republic -its too hard to pick from the huge casual Greek menu, so have the trapeze menu and save reading the translations but make sure to ask for the lamb from the courtyard spit
MoVida (a bar stool at the original, Next Door as a second choice) -Modern tapas and Spanish wine, consistently buzzy and in high demand for good reason
Stokehouse -its a shame Melbourne doesn't have a nicer beach but once you're sitting upstairs at Stoke looking at the water-filled horizon it will not matter much. Slick service and food, and a beachy dining room thats getting a substantial overhaul come winter
Gills Diner -casual share friendly food that has meticulously been made in house, an eclectic winelist and passionate friendly manager that looks after regulars with extra TLC
Rockpool Bar and Grill -many of Australias best here; probably the best available aged meat in Australia, seafood direct from the fishermen and an unrivalled winelist. Its a fast paced grill thats used as a special occasion place for many or a spot for a cheeky wagyu burger for many others
Dainty Sichuan -Like sichuan numb lips? Go to Dainty, enough said.

MarketLane -roasts in house, espresso, pour-over, clover
Brother Baba Budan -espresso, clover
Seven Seeds -espresso, clover
Wall Two 80 -espresso (and my thinking place)
Outpost by St Ali -all of the coffee gadgets!

Deadman Espresso -coffee good enough to join the list above and an interesting menu too
European -inside or outside very Melbournian
St Ali -as per Deadman Espresso, and just around the corner as well
Cafe Vue, St Kilda Rd -you could go to the Shannon Bennett's fancy restaurant or get the plush without the fuss

City Wine Shop -afternoon glass of something interesting
Supper Club and Siglo -late night (early morning?) institution
1806/De Raum -molecular cocktails
Izakaya Den/Coda -smart subterranean bars and even smarter snacks

Foodie Shopping
Baker D Chirico -organic sourdough breads and pastries
Melbourne Farmers Market -changing location, at Gasworks, South Melbourne the weekend of the 20th March
Prahran Market -I host Hidden Gems Tours on Thursdays and Saturdays
La Latteria -Mozzarella Lab. Go!
Essential Ingredient/Simon Johnson -Australias answer to Fauchon
Casa Iberica -Everything Spanish
Mediterranean Wholesalers -European supersized supermarket

Short Trips
Sunnybrae, Birregurra
Healesville, Yarra Valley (whole town)

Aussie Must Taste List
Pearl Meat
Wild Barramundi
Finger lime
Angasi Oyster
Mud Crab
Blackmore Waygu/Mishima (if available)
Yarra Valley Salmon Roe
Vegemite/Pavlova and other Aussie cliches

This is my short (long) list, so what have I missed?