My favourite food bloggers share their top dishes being served up in Victoria’s capital
There are hundreds of places to eat, and thousands of options as to what you might eat. So if your time and your appetite are limited, I’ve just made choosing a little bit easier for you.
Melbourne’s bloggers visit heaps of bars, cafes, pubs and restaurants every year, both the spanking new and the long-established, and they have the jump on newspapers that are only able to publish a tiny handful of reviews in any one calendar year.
It is well worth keeping up to date with Melbourne’s food and drink trends via bloggers – we can visit whenever we like (though some twitter police do sometimes have a problem with visiting too soon after a restaurant has opened); we are the general public just like you an, unlike critics, we don’t get our money reimbursed by our publishers – so if we don’t like it, just like Joe Public, we only visit once because we’re not made of money. Plus we have the most up to date photos of menus, you can see the exact dishes that made us drool and we may indeed sell you on visiting a place you would otherwise miss.
I am sure The Age and some of Melbourne’s mediocre magazines will have their end of year wrap ups and try to convince us of what they think is the next food trends for Melbourne. But unfortunately we all know what they are and are hoping for something completely different. Of course, broadsheet critics aren’t the only people with opinions on Melbourne’s best dishes, so I also cast the net wider.
I asked some of my favourite food bloggers to tell me what their favourite ten dishes in Melbourne are. Here’s what they said.
“I was born and raised in Yorkshire (England), where the Dales and Pudding come from, and inspired early on by my Grandfather cooking away in the kitchen. Now, after close to 15 years in New Zealand, I’m here in Melbourne talking about some of the amazing food I’m lucky enough to be served; as well as my locavore desires to cook with and eat the best produce at home.”
- Rockwell & Sons: Fried chicken meal on Wednesdays
- Pei Modern: Dutch cream potatoes with mojama and bone marrow
- Crabapple Kitchen: Myrtleford buttermilk pancakes with banana, salted peanut praline, whipped Mascarpone & pure Canadian maple syrup
- Chin Chin: Twice cooked Hopkins River beef short rib with coriander & prik nahm pla
- Burch and Purchese: Rose, Apple and Beetroot Crumble (from their dessert nights)
- Brooks of Melbourne: Chicken parfait, rye bread pillows, blackcurrant jam (almost every dish here is a winner, but this is a perfect reinvention of a dish that appears on almost every menu at the moment)
- Attica: Flinders Island Wallaby, Bunya Pine, Ground Berry; tied with their Kumara, almond & pyegana.
- Lau’s Family Kitchen: I could list the entire menu, highlights are- Singapore style prawns, beef brisket, ma po tofu, rice noodle rolls
- Union Dining: Shared Sunday lunch (changes every week, highlights have been the confit duck with lentils; prawn salad with broad beans and ricotta)
- The Sharing House: Wagyu short rib, truffle jus, braised celery
- MoVida: Quince Paste Cigar with Whipped Buffalo Milk Cheese (although it’s hard to go past their Slowly Braised Beef Cheek in Pedro Ximenez on Cauliflower Puree)
- Easy Tiger: Hot & sour fish curry with snake beans & siamese watercress
Follow on Twitter @bywhatwedesire
The Hospitality Widow
“I’m a freelance food writer who, despite a passion for the finer things in life, is just as happy with a piece of fried chicken and a craft beer. I used to co-own a restaurant with my partner but when we split, so did the restaurant, hence The Hospitality Widow (and no, I didn’t top him off – though I was tempted in those dark months right after …). Check out my up & coming blog www.thehospitalitywidow.com”
In no particular order:
- BBQ Pork Belly Sandwich with Pickled Vegetables, Coriander, Hoisin & Kewpie Mayonnaise at Small Victories
- Cypriot Grain Salad at Hellenic Republic
- Tanami Spiced Kangaroo Loin, Fondant Potato, Shallot Puree, Sautéed Broccollini Pumpkin and Chilli at Charcoal Lane
- Fried Haloumi with Pear, Candied Walnuts and Honey Dressing as Arintji
- Coke Spider Test Tube at Pierre Roelof’s Desert Night at Cafe Rosamond
- Carbonara Eggs at Marmalade and Soul
- Macaroni and Cheese Croquettes at Hare and Grace
- Double Patty Smash Burger at Rockwell and Sons
- Steak Tartare at Swan Street Social
- Roasted Field Mushrooms with Sheep’s Feta, Thyme and Beetroot Relish at South of Johnston
“Poppet’s Window is a Melbourne based food blog for the epicurious and the epicluelss alike. Although Poppet has a reputation for eating around, below are her most memorable dishes of 2012 in no particular order.”
- Teishoku (set lunch) from Aka Siro, Collingwood
- Walnut eggs from Ora Café, Kew
- Chilli Dog at Phat Brats, Fitzroy
- Jerusalem artichoke soup with house cured wagyu bresaola, quail egg, chestnut, celeriac and a side of sherry from Estelle bar and Kitchen, Northcote
- $35 all-you-can-eat yum cha from the new David’s Restaurant, Prahran
- Beyd bil Zaatar for breakfast (poached eggs coated in Middle Eastern spices with babaganoush, warm flatbread and pumpkin kibbeh) from Bayte, Collingwoods
- Salt and pepper kingfish wings with Asian herb salad and nouc cham from Chin Chin, CBD
- Double Patty Smash Burger from Rockwell and Sons, Collingwood
- Slow roasted spiced lamb shoulder on the bone with sirkanjabin from Rumi, East Brunswick
- Cooked caramel cream dessert from Trocadero, Southbank
- Bottomless curry ($20pp on Sunday) and homemade kulfi Indian ice cream from Horn Please, North Fitzroy
“My life as a full-time studying/part-time working student the past 5 years has really shaped me to become particularly passionate about searching the Melbourne food scene for food that are affordable, delicious and more importantly, value for money. Being a Chinese-Malaysian (and hence my affinity towards Asian cuisines), it is evident to see how my list of Top 10 dishes really does reflect who I am and where I’m from.”
– Winston aka The Hungry Excavator
- Roast Duck, Pacific House (Richmond)
- Salmone Pizza, Kaprica
- Hamachi Sashimi, Pabu Grill & Sake
- Korean Fried Chicken, Gami Chicken & Beer
- Chirashi Sushi, Ume Sushi House
- Claypot Fish Head Curry, Kuala Lumpur Restaurant
- Deep Fried Lamb Spare Ribs, Chinese Spicy & Barbie
- Spicy Deep Fried Quail, Mabrown
- Spicy Cod Roe Butter Pasta, Horoki
- Agedashi Tofu, Big Mama
“David Hagger is a bald headed man and former punk vocalist with a penchant for finery, convivial dining, and festive culture. The World Loves Melbourne celebrates the world’s most liveable city. ”
- Caramelised pork hock, chilli vinegar, crisp garlic at Longrain
- The Steak Burger and The Mexican Burger at Tree of Us
- Traditional mixed paella with seafood and meat at Rhone Wine and Tapas
- Duck, gascony salad at Vue De Monde
- Salt and Pepper Crusted Soft Shell Crab w. Green Papaya Salad and Nahm Jim at Chin Chin
- Slow roasted lamb neck at Shed 5
- Gravlax ocean trout cured with apple vodka, textures of apple and mustard crème fraîche at The Sharing House
- Cecina featuring Air Dried Wagyu, poached organic egg and truffle foam at MoVida
- David Blackmore’s Full Blood Wagyu Hamburger with Bacon, Gruyere Cheese and Zuni Pickle at Rockpool Bar and Grill
- 12 hour roasted mt.leura lamb shoulder, pistachio and green olive tabouleh at Maha
- Black pudding and poached egg at Pei Modern
- Korean bbq pork ribs, spicy slaw, chilli gherkin at Huxtable
- Huxtaburger and crinkle cut chips at Huxtaburger
“Desserts Correspondents MoMo & Coco are devoted to sampling, micro-analysing, micro-photographing and thoroughly enjoying the most exquisite desserts that Melbourne has to offer, whether from restaurants, cafes, specialty sweet boutiques or afternoon teas. In no particular order, the following are our thoughts of 2012’s dessert trends and within each category, two favourite desserts from venues that opened or re-launched in 2012. A more detailed overview will be published on our site in January 2013.”
- Salted caramel – Trocadero’s “Cooked Caramel Cream,” Circa’s “Salted Caramel Sundae”
- Home-sweet-home-style cake-oriented cafes –Jam & Cream, Candied Bakery
- Themed event afternoon teas – Le Style French High Tea.
“My name is Adrian Briones. Thanks for checking into my site. Life is way too short so let’s get to it. The main aim of my cookbook What The Heck Is Filipino Food? and this blog Food Rehab is to helpintroduce Filipino cuisine and culture to Australia as well as to document my quests in hunting down the Best Breakfast in Melbourne.”
- In my local area: L’ucellino in Yarraville for their simple thin based pizzas. A favourite amongst the locals.
- A restaurant for that special occasion: A Perfect Drop, Daylesford
- Dish of the year: the Twice Cooked Lamb Ribs with Chili Jam at Red Spice Road, McKillop Street.
- Weekend brekkie: The Simple Pleasures at Duchess of Spotswood, this menu item changes seasonally.
“My name is Amy Collins and I am a lover of food and wine and sharing these experience with great company. I am a freelance food and travel writer and share my everyday foodie experiences on my blog.”
- Confit duck salad, lentils, sherry vinaigrette and mustard fruits from Union Dining
- Meyer Lemon Tart from Albert Street Food and Wine
- Cypriot Salad from Hellenic Republic
- Sour Cream, pumpkin & salted caramel Dessert from Estelle Bar and Kitchen
- Chocolate Fondant from Virginia Plain
- Milk Fed Lamb and Pea Ragu Pasta from Rosetta
- Zucchini Ravioli alla Carbonara from Tea Rooms of Yarck
However, no list like this can ever be definitive, as dishes disappear off menus, chefs change, good kitchens go bad, and new venues come along that dazzle. But I think this is a good place to start. Now, get out there and try them for yourself.
Let us know the dishes that made your 2012 memorable – for better or for worse!