Australia is undoubtedly one of the world’s best food and wine destinations, specifically Melbourne. The city — which features a melting pot of ethnic cuisines, culinary philosophies and delectable trends — is constantly evolving and raising its standards. At the same time, new purveyors of food and wine challenge what, where and how people eat on a daily basis.
Here is a snapshot of the latest food and drink happenings in Melbourne and surrounds:
Dessert As The Main Event
Skipping dinner might be the most sacrilegious thing for a foodie to do. In Melbourne, experiences like Pierre Roelofs’ dessert degustation at Café Rosamond, Trocodero’s caramel cooked cream, Golden Fields’ peanut butter parfait and ‘forest floor’ at new dining hotspot Brooks of Melbourne have diners reaching straight for the dessert spoon. Additionally, Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar at Crown Entertainment Complex offers a three course sugar extravaganza with a take home goodie bag of their Dessert Bar treat.
Dining For A Good Cause
A number of Melbourne food and wine establishments are helping those in need – profits from drinks purchased at not-for-profit bar Shebeen are sent to development projects in third world countries. Charcoal Lane in the Gertrude Street precinct supports indigenous youth by offering traineeship opportunities and STREAT at Melbourne Central provides homeless youth with hospitality training. Meanwhile, Scarf helps disadvantaged youth by providing mentoring in the hospitality industry with industry experts from several of Melbourne’s top restaurants.
A Growing Speakeasy Scene
Melbourne’s underground bar scene continues to prosper with hidden Melbourne bars like Bar Americano, Bar Ampere and The Everleigh, taking their artisan cocktails to new levels using foraged herbs, house-made liquors and bespoke spirits in their elixirs. No menu is needed at these venues, as you can simply tell the bartender a bit about your palate to have something crafted specifically to your tastes.
A New Challenger In The Dumpling Arena
Back in the city, cult dumpling scene trailblazer HuTong Dumpling Bar has been joined by new cult dumpling house ShanDong MaMa and authentic Sichuan Dining Room as champions of provincial Chinese cuisine. We’re curious to see who the reigning champion of traditional dumpling making will be in a year’s time.
A Growing Cheese Culture
House-made cheeses, rare international varieties and local farmhouse cheeses play a strong role at a number of popular eating spots around Melbourne. Milk the Cow and Il Fornaio in Melbourne’s St Kilda precinct offer a selection of local, international and house-made cheeses with matched wines. Additionally, La Laterria, just north of the city center and Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder are excellent choices for a cheesy experience as both make their own in-house queso. The newest addition to the mix is Spring Street Grocery, which offers comprehensive tastings where visitors can take home the spoils.
An Appreciation Of Fine Dining
The appreciation for fine dining continues with Andrew McConnell’s latest venture Moon Under Water on Gertrude Street. Providing a high-end dining experience, it joins the ranks of highly acclaimed restaurants such as Jacques Reymond in Toorak, Ben Shewry’s Attica in Ripponlea and Shannon Bennett’s Vue De Monde, located on the 55th floor of the Rialto building.
A Coffee Culture That Continues To Grow
Melbourne holds on to its crown as the coffee capital of Australia with the Melbourne International Coffee Expo hosting the World Barista Championships from May 23 to 26. New roasters opening doors around town with names like Code Black Coffee, Petty Officer and Top Paddock are hitting the scene alongside outposts of existing favorites like St Ali North and Market Lane Coffee in inner-suburban Carlton. City hotspots such as Manchester Press, Sensory Lab and The League of Honest Coffee continue to satisfy Melbourne’s endless thirst for caffeine.
Local Rooftop Honey
Melbourne restaurants and retailers are using rooftop space to create honey to supply the city’s hospitality scene. Spring Street Grocery’s gelateria, Luxbite and Burch & Purchese are just a few top food and wine purveyors drizzling goods with Melbourne’s Rooftop Honey. At Clementine’s down Degraves Lane, you can pop in for free honey tastings from Melbourne’s different neighborhood rooftops.