Category Archives: Melbourne

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Brae Restaurant | Birregurra, Australia

When I first wrote about Birregurra’s Brae Restaurant in 2015, the way I introduced Dan Hunter – the immense talent behind it all – was through observing the fact that he honed his skills at, among other places, the famed Mugaritz in the Basque Country.

In 2017, that introduction is no longer necessary. With its ascension to #44 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Brae has definitively cemented itself a position as one of of Australia’s best restaurants. This is world-class cooking in a town of less than 700 people folks. It’s something special.


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Minamishima | Richmond, Melbourne

Stepping through the ostensibly ho-hum glass doors that guard the entrance to Minamishima, you could be forgiven for holding an incredulous attitude at claims that this is Melbourne’s best sushi restaurant and indeed, rivals even the best Sydney has to offer.

Of course, despite the back-street entrance to what appears more to be an innocuous block of apartments than a restaurant, you wouldn’t turn back now. Be glad you didn’t, because Minamishima is everything they say it is, and quite possibly a bit more.

Say hi to my favourite sushi restaurant in Australia!

Date Last Visited: 21/1/2017 (4 visits to date)
Address: 4 Lord St, Richmond VIC 3121
Highlight courses: aburi flounder, ootoro nigiri, anago nigiri, sakura ice cream & adzuki yokan


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Attica | Melbourne

In 2013, I visited Attica, then the #21 best restaurant in the world on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best List. And  I was not impressed – Ben Shewry’s food wasn’t my idea of world-class. Certainly – the polished service, the attention to detail and the use of native Australian flora and fauna were all most exemplary and worthy of recognition. However, the food just wasn’t all that…tasty. My palate is my palate, after all – as such, while I appreciated it, I didn’t like it anywhere near what I thought I would.

But short of a disaster, I’m all about second chances – there’s no way true restaurant reviewers would score a venue based off just one visit, and if I’m going to make a judgement call on Attica, I ought to take a page out of their books. A second visit, three years later, was in – colour me seriously impressed.

Date Last Visited: 07/07/2016 27/11/13
Address: 74 Glen Eira Rd Ripponlea, VIC 3185


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The Kettle Black | Melbourne

It’s not every day that a cafe becomes known more for their stunning architecture than their food. I don’t want to judge a cafe by its cover, but my is it pretty at The Kettle Black. Indeed, its fitout is no less than the best of the best – taking out first prize in Architecture AU’s best cafe design. The mosaic floors, the juggling of the old and the new (the left: a rather confrontingly modernist build, the right: a bleached Victorian terrace) and the wide open spaces within exudes beauty even through incongruence.

Of course, then there’s the food too. There’s the signature Kettle Black bun, delicious hotcakes and an array of savouries that has yet to lose its lustre. It’s no wonder why The Kettle Black’s one of Melbourne’s hottest cafes right now, and perhaps will continue to be for some time.

Date Last Visited: 5/12/2015
Address: 50 Albert Road,South Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
Recommended Dish(es): king island crayfish roll, KB hotcakes, pulled pork benedict


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Dinner By Heston Blumenethal | Melbourne & London

Dinner (noun)
The main meal of the day, taken either around MIDDAY or in the EVENING.
A formal evening meal, typically one in honour of a person or event.

This is a post on an establishment that could be considered an experience of the highest order, a world-class gem. Food that delights the palate, boisterous on flavour with genteel service to match. But then, when you’re talking about Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, you expect nothing less. Read on for all the culinary delights to follow!

Date Last Visited: 27/11/15 (Melbourne) | January 2014 (London)
Address: Level 3, Crown Melbourne, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank (Melbourne) | 66 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge, London (UK)
Recommended Dish(es): marron & cucumber soup, rice & flesh, meat fruit, chicken & lettuce, tipsy cake, brown bread ice cream (more…)

The Fat Duck London & Melbourne

The Fat Duck | London & Melbourne

The Fat Duck is about to pull a hat trick.

The culinary overlord Heston Blumenthal (you may have heard of him) utterly and definitively blew me away when I dined at The Fat Duck in Bray over a year and a half ago. It was a transformative experience, teaching me that food can be elevated to unimaginable heights, yet take you back to food play dates of childhood. It is art, theatre, and the fulfilment of fantasy all in one meal. You do not visit a restaurant such as The Fat Duck to merely eat. Sure, in the end, it’s just food, they say. Only idiots would pay $500+ for a meal, they decry. Well then, let us fools be parted with our money – these tables are hard enough to nab as they are.

So many people tried to book a table at The Fat Duck’s 6-month stint in Melbourne – nearly 100,000 people applied for the mere chance. I, the masochist, tried my luck at the chef’s table – an even more improbable feat. Needless to say, I was truly counting on a lucky star to shine upon me. And then, one did.

Date Last Visited: 10/1/2014 (London) | 04/07/2015 (Melbourne)
Address: High Street, Bray, Berkshire SL6 2AQ, United Kingdom | 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank, VIC
Recommended Dish(es): the experience itself


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Izakaya Den | Melbourne

The English language is a big fan of appropriating foreign words. It’s obvious with French, but Japanese is also a language for which loanwords are common.

One that has seen a bit of a usage increase is “izakaya”, a term decribing a Japanese-style bar that serves food to boot. A Japanese pub, essentially. In Japan, izakayas are frequent haunts of Japanese businessmen when they get off from a day at work.

And so it is here in Australia as well. One of Melbourne’s most famous examples of these Nippon staples is Izakaya Den. With an appropriate amount of hype surrounding the place, even by Melbourne standards, it was only a matter of time before a visit was due.

Date Last Visited: 29/11/13
Address: 114 Russell St Melbourne, VIC 3000
Recommended Dish(es): egg rolls, spicy tuna tataki, cone bay barramundi, miso pound cake


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Three Bags Full | Melbourne

Those familiar with Aesop’s Tortoise and the Hare know that the tortoise wins in the end due to the hare’s hubris and sloth. When it comes to my food blogging, I’m the sum of the worst parts of both hare and tortoise – I’m slow like the tortoise, as lazy as the hare.

This is why it takes me nearly a year to get my post out on Three Bags Full, despite the fact that I already revisited Melbourne in between, and that host of adventures inevitably delayed a whole lot longer.

My Achilles heel, perhaps. However – just like the fabled battler, I get there in the end. Melbourne, I will not let you down!

Date Last Visited: 30/11/13
Address: 60 Nicholson St Abbotsford, VIC 3067
Recommended Dish(es): braised pulled pork shoulder on toasted brioche


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Chin Chin | Melbourne

Chin Chin is one of the hottest Melbourne restaurants, both figuratively and literally. The hype for this place just does not die down – I’ve followed it for a years, and when I finally had the chance to visit, the queues were as Great-Wallian as ever.

Surely, a simple restaurant styled around contemporary Malay cuisine cannot generate such buzz? Granted, Malay food is delicious, but also ubiquitous. What makes Chin Chin stand out? Does it deserve to?

I practically killed my tastebuds to find out. The results were…fiery.

Date Last Visited: 29/11/13
Address: 125 Flinders Ln Melbourne, VIC 3000
Recommended Dish(es): Massaman curry of coconut braised beef w/kipfler potatoes, peanuts & crispy shallots


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Cumulus Inc. | Melbourne

Few food-centric visits to Melbourne are completed without a trip to Cumulus Inc. Andrew McConnell’s restaurant café is widely regarded by locals and visitors alike.

When backed by a bevy of solid recommendations, it was only a matter of time for me.

Though I find that the crowd is generally correct about the quality of Melbourne establishments, Cumulus Inc surprised me in ways I did not expect.

Date Last Visited: 27/11/13
Address: 45 Flinders Lane Melbourne, VIC 3000
Recommended Dish(es): Grilled Lyonnaise sausage, smoked hock, braised beans & 65C egg