|Brae: Raw wallaby wrapped in BBQ radicchio (Photo courtesy of Brae)|
After spending time as chef de cuisine of Mugaritz and, most recently, Royal Mail, Dan Hunter resurfaced in a whitewashed country house set in a 30-acre property in the Birregura region, an hour and a half’s drive from Melbourne. With an olive grove, an orchard and an edible herb garden in his backyard, Hunter rises to the occasion with an inspired menu of terroir-driven creations encapsulated in a delicious 10-course tasting menu (the snacks course alone features 9 items). Petit pois procured from a nearby bio-dynamic farm are gently smoked in the BBQ, served with calamari, fermented celeriac and rounded with beef fat to deliver a perfect balance of sweet, tart and crisp finish. Freshly plucked broad beans, strawberries and fig leaf from the resident edible garden are served alongside green almonds in a pool of minimalist yoghurt whey to heighten the intensity of the fresh vegetables on the palate. A delicious meat dish of raw wallaby ensconced in BBQ radicchio keeps things interesting for the carnivores, as does the 18 day-aged Peking duck roasted in a wood fire oven. If there is any doubt if Brae is worth the schlep, take it from us that it is. 4285 Cape Otway Rd, Birregurra VIC 3242, Australia; +61 3 5236 2226; www.braerestaurant.com
|Attica: Salted kangaroo with red carrots in bunya bunya (Photo courtesy of Attica)|
When in Australia, a trip to Attica, voted no. 32 on S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best list 2014, is a must, if only to steep in the storied life of chef-owner, Ben Shewry, told over a 10-course dinner that spans 5 hours. The New Zealand native who gained international fame for his passion for foraging now has access to multiple plots of edible garden at Ripponlea Estate – all within a 4-minute walk from the restaurant – and these edible herbs, fruits and flowers (plus a handful of native ingredients like red pepper berries from Tasmania), feature in Shewry’s tasting menu that draws inspiration from both New Zealand (where Shewry grew up) and Australia. Bunya bunya (ground berries) from Shewry’s 15-acre garden is teamed with rare salted red kangaroo meat and red carrots from Mornington Peninsula while slow-roasted Greta Valley pork loin is crusted in coriander seeds and served with a sauce of fresh corn, rotten corn (a traditional Maori technique for preserving corn) and lemon aspen. Just so to remind you that you a truly down under, Shewry also serves up a snack of pikelet (or blinis) made with wallaby blood that comes complete with a tongue-in-cheek recipe. 74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea VIC 3185, Australia; +61 3 9530 0111; www.attica.com.au
|The Bridge Room: Steamed Victorian Murray cod with winter melon and new season ginger in reduced Chinkiang black vinegar sauce|
With David Chang, you never know what to expect. After planting the Momofuku flag firmly in New York, the co-founder of Lucky Peach magazine spread his wings and landed a prized spot 3 years ago on the grounds of Sydney’s one and only casino hotel, The Star. Unlike its noodle bar flagship, noodles are not on the tasting menu at Momofuku Seiobo and neither is American or Korean fare. Head chef, Ben Greeno, an Englishman and the former sous chef of Noma, has conceived a borderless cuisine neatly translated into a 10-course tasting menu that draws inspiration from his time in Europe. Snacks like deep-fried parson’s nose topped with caviar tickles the palate before Greeno sweeps you off your feet with dishes like the 154 day-aged seared Ranger’s Valley wagyu served with fermented rye-dusted swede. As Greeno will tell you, there are no signature dishes here but the seared wagyu cubed with sliced radish, fermented black bean powder and charred watermelon rind dressing has – ironically enough – been on the menu since day one. The Star/80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW 2009, Australia; +61 2 9777 9000; www.momofuku.com/sydney/seiobo
© Evelyn Chen 2013
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.