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Australia on a plate – at these Melbourne restaurants

/ 01 May 2017
Australia’s unique, verdant landscape offers natural flavours like nowhere else in the world. A number of Melbourne restaurants are celebrating this by making Australia a feature on their plates.

Attica – Ranked 32 in The World’s Top 50 Restaurants and probably leading the vanguard of the strong integration of native ingredients in Chef and owner Ben Shewry’s menu. From the Lilly Pilly and Illawarra plum pine used in signature dessert The Native Fruits of Australia, to native saltbush leaves, marron, native peppers and nuts, the flavours of Attica sing Australia.

Vue de Monde – Kangaroo, marron, wallaby and native herbs are all permanent fixtures on the menu at Vue de Monde and have been for some time. The restaurant is also decked out in kangaroo leather and offers diners another Aussie specialty – a twist on the classic lamington.

Charcoal Lane – Aussie bush tucker meets fine dining at this social enterprise restaurant located on Gertrude Street in the Fitzroy precinct. Wallaby tartare, yam fritters and wild barramundi grace the menu. The kitchen operates with an apprentice and trainee program for disadvantaged Aboriginal youth.

Estelle by Scott Pickett – With smoked wallaby & black rice on the menu as well as locally caught seafood and seasonal farm fresh produce, ESP in the hip Northcote High Street has brought some pure Australian class to this end of the city.

Saint Crispin – located further south in the eat street that is Smith Street Collingwood is also owned by Chef Scott Pickett and has Australian local produce and ingredients scattered throughout the menu including  Kangaroo Jerky, macadamia nuts, seasonal rhubarb and wild celery.

IDES –  Chef Peter Gunn (formerly sous chef at Attica) calls his menu typical ‘Melbourne cuisine’, meaning that it draws on the city’s multi-cultural heritage and history of innovation and creative fusions. Though the ingredients are sourced from all around the world and Australia, the seasonally changing menu often features native local flavours.

Lee Ho Fook – possibly not the most obvious connection for a contemporary Chinese restaurant to include native Australian flavours but Chef Victor Liong does just that with the inclusion of Lakes Entrance Bugs, Murry River Salt and Warrigal Greens fused into his new-wave Chinese menu.

Calia –  A restaurant-meets-retail concept store located at Emporium Melbourne, Calia’s menu comes from the mind of Michelin star chef Francisco Javier Araya. The Japanese-influenced menu features items like grilled line-caught Tasmanian salmon with a dashi tea broth, Alaskan king crab claw baked in miso mayonnaise and truffle-flavoured fries tossed in egg yolk. Imported sake from the Yamagata and Ishikawa regions of Japan rounds out the experience. Wildflower honey, Yarra Valley truffles and more are available for purchase in the adjoining store that stocks a range of sustainable foods.

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