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Melbourne’s Top Food Trends

May 13, 2014 Food & Beverage No Comments Email Email

From laneway dining to wine regions and coastal areas, Victoria’s quality and diversity of experience, its abundant produce and the passion and innovation of its chefs and producers make the State a mecca for foodies, and the world’s top food media and influencers are taking notice.

Ben Shewry’s Attica has recently been awarded Australasia’s Best Restaurant in Restaurant Magazine’s top 50 restaurants in the world list.

The World’s Best Pizza is also in Melbourne, made by local pizza maker Johnny Di Francesco of 400 Gradi, according to the World Pizza Championships recently held in Italy.

Melbourne has the World’s Best Coffee, says one of the world’s leading travel websites,

USA’s leading lifestyle magazine, AFAR, summed it up in the recent May edition of the magazine – ‘Melbourne is experiencing a culinary moment’.

World renowned UK chef Heston Blumenthal also rates the city. He is temporarily relocating his three Michelin starred restaurant The Fat Duck to Crown Melbourne  for a six month period from February 2015 before installing the more permanent, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. This will be the experimental chef’s only restaurant outside of the UK.

The current interest in Melbourne is driven by a constantly evolving food and wine landscape underpinned by passionate artisans and entrepreneurs and driven by a curious and insatiable population.

Exciting trends emerge from within the city and surrounding regions keeping the industry engaged and visitors coming back for more. Here are just a few of the latest food and drink tends in Melbourne and Victoria:

The new Australian Cuisine
Articulating Australian cuisine has always been a challenging prospect with unique produce from both sea and land, decades of migration and a geographic distance all shaping what and the way Australian’s eat.

Melbourne’s exponential growth as a food city is driving an awareness globally of what Australian food is – inventive, constantly evolving, not tied to any one culture or creed, except for a dedication to quality experiences delivered using some of the best produce the world has to offer.

Australia’s best restaurant and number 32 in San Pellegrino’s Best Restaurants for 2014, Attica’s Ben Shewry is renowned for offering his diners a true taste of Australian cuisine with native herbs and ingredients such as native saltbush leaves, marron, native peppers and nuts, the flavours of Attica sing Australia.

From wallaby to Australian baked sweet the lamington, Shannon Bennett fuses Australian ingredients, classic family favourites and a touch of French discipline to offer a truly unique dining experience.

Delicate vegetable-based dishes sourced straight from the garden are the point of distinction at Brae. Notable chef Dan Hunter’s focus on provenance and perfection leaves the door wide open for creativity and a distinctive style.

Scott Pickett and Jo Grbac’s passion project Saint Crispin is the marrying of two experienced Australian chefs with eclectic backgrounds, the result being slick, creative and contemporary menu drawing inspiration from nature’s bounty.

Charcoal Lane in Collingwood’s Gertrude Street offers up carefully considered dishes which showcase Australian produce and is also a social enterprise giving back to disadvantaged youth with a focus on Indigenous Australians.

Locally distilled, locally brewed
Widely renowned for some of Australia’s top micro-breweries, Victoria’s thirst for local, hand-crafted drinks is still on the rise.

Over the past couple of years a number of distilleries offering everything from gin using native botanicals to small-batch whiskey have emerged to be readily embraced by the bartending community and the public.

Yarra Valley based Four Pillars Gin, Melbourne Gin Company and New World Whiskey Distillery, located in an old airport hangar in Essendon in Melbourne’s Western suburbs are three of the brands driving the trend and Bass & Flinders Distillery on the Mornington Peninsula, just over an hours’ drive from Melbourne’s city centre and produces gin using alcohol from grapes instead of grains.

Best in brunch
Melbourne has been renowned for brilliant brunch experiences of a number of years now.  While artisan breads and single origin coffee are now a basic expectation – artfully designed and flavoursome dishes created using ingredients of the highest standard are served in high-end architecturally designed settings are further challenging the breakfast status quo.

Richmond café Top Paddock is widely renowned for using ingredients from leading producers to create beautifully presented plates – almost too pretty to eat.

Lemon Middle and Orange is located in a former paint factory in the backstreets of the Collingwood dining precinct and now churns sophisticated takes on classic breakfast and lunch dishes with an Irish twist.

Popular waste-free café Silo by Joost continues to raise the bar when it comes to the art of brunch, using hand milled, and locally produced ingredients to serve creative breakfast and brunch dishes.

Notable Melbourne chef Matt Wilkinson continues to serve some of Melbourne’s best breakfasts from the help of top Melbourne café Pope Joan in Melbourne’s inner North.

Andrew Gale has created an impressive menu of interesting breakfast and brunch dishes with both and English and locavore twist at St Ali North and St Ali South and where it all started, Duchess of Spotswood.

Duck egg, breakfast ramen and lavender yogurt are just a few staples on the artfully designed breakfast menu at Brunswick Street breakfast hotspot Hammer and Tong.

Heritage on a modern platform
Melbourne’s top culinary innovators are taking inspiration from the past to provide unique dining experiences.

House cured and pickled offerings at hip inner-city eatery Ombra nod to operator Carlo Grossi’s Italian heritage and celebrate the lost arts of cooking.

At George Calombaris’ newly re-launched Press Club, a hero dish celebrates the favourite Aussie invention the ‘Hills hoist ‘backyard clothesline with a mini version with dehydrated vegetables pegged to it.

At Adam D’Sylva’s uber-hip and polished laneway dining hot-spot Tonka, the ancient cooking method of the tandoor oven is the catalyst for many a modern-Indian treat.

Antipodean Collingwood hotspot run by chefs Joe Grbac and Scott Pickett Saint Crispin provides and airy warehouse experience behind its wrought iron gates. The restaurant fuses the French bistro style techniques both chefs became well versed in while working in the same restaurant London with the best of what local producers and domestic oceans have to offer and without pretence.

Extreme ice-cream
Rain, hail or shine, Melbourne’s propensity for icy treats does not wane. A number of new additions to the gelato scene are popping up around town treating lovers to fresh hand made products, quirky serving techniques and a bounty of flavours.

N2 Extreme Gelato – Liquid nitrogen is the key ingredient at N2 Extreme Gelato which opened recently on Brunswick Street in the inner city suburb of Fitzroy. N2 has quickly built a reputation for its unique flavours and theatrical serving methods.

The LAB Nitrogen Gelato on Bourke Street in the city centre also uses liquid nitrogen to create ice-cream. All products are made without preservatives, stabilisers or colourings, serving up flavours including salted caramel popcorn and dark earl grey chocolate with homemade chocolate brownies.

Massively popular Sydney artisanal gelataria Gelato Messina opened a Melbourne outpost in Collingwood last year with a menu including Messina’s signature 40-flavour cabinet and the impressive gelato cakes, which recently appeared on MasterChef. All gelato’s will be churned fresh on-site on a daily basis.

Spring Street Grocer, located opposite Parliament House serves artisan gelato over its stately marble-lined counter with flavours such as turmeric, pistachio and saffron or watermelon and pomegranate molasses sorbet. Visitors should also leave room for cheese and charcuterie located in the downstairs Cheese Cave.


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