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Restaurants

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Melbourne’s most exclusive Japanese restaurant is genuinely hard to find. It’s down a laneway off Bourke Street that seems to become invisible when you start looking for it – however Essentials has the secret instructional discovery details listed here. And for good reason, because on Monday, 23 September 2019, Ishizuka will present a special eight-course kaiseki dinner celebrating the world’s most sought after beef, showcasing both locally sourced David Blackmore 9+ score and imported Japanese…

There is energy at Africola. It blasts from the charcoal grill at the heart of the kitchen. It radiates from the brightly coloured modern art hanging on the walls. It is irresistibly passed on by the bar staff who work cheek by jowl with the kitchen crew. You can taste it in the modern South African émigré food of chef Duncan Welgemoed that hits you like a wall of flavour while wrapping comfortably around you…

From Mansfield to Beechworth these are some of the best places to eat and drink  in Victoria’s High Country. Eldorado Road Cellar Door, Beechworth, Victoria Visiting Eldorado Road’s newly expanded Beechworth cellar door and cantina is a destination to underline on your High Country itinerary’s list. A tasting of their ultra premium wines, local and imported artisan cheeses and charcuterie presents a gourmand’s dream, all delivered effortlessly in a relaxed and somewhat micro storefront tastings…

The Aløft dining room fills with a thousand dancing points of light as the sun glances off the Derwent River near Sullivans Cove in the heart of Hobart. Two floors up on a floating pier this modern restaurant has one of the best waterside views in the nation. The philosophy and aesthetics reflect the modern Scandi trend of eating locally using only seasonal local and, sometimes, foraged food. This is blended with a cuisine that…

Chef Roi Rigoni talks about his carbonara ‘epiphany’ and the culinary gifts of his mother Bruna, while partner Sue White enthuses over her new Raffaello ice-cream. Since 1996, partners in art and life Roi Rigoni and Sue White have been sharing their version of modern Italian hospitality with Kiewa Valley locals and visitors at their whimsical restaurant, Roi’s Diner, which reflects the personalities of this culinary duo. Roi’s food, based on the traditional flavours of…

The mid-winter sun exudes relaxation, with the outside temperature reaching at a pleasant 17 degrees. A crowd is gathering inside the private dining room – an extended group of family friends, many familiar faces, some new. I’ve arrived at Chrismont’s Cellar Door, Restaurant and Larder to celebrate a birthday, and while I’ve visited many times in the past, my eyes are still drawn outside to admire the children’s storybook forested hill that meets the valley…

The Van Haandel Group has this week announce its appointment of award-winning chef Oliver Hansford (of Stokehouse Melbourne) as the new Executive Chef of Stokehouse Q, Brisbane. Ollie returns to Brisbane and Stokehouse Q, having been awarded the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year Award in 2016, and following on from his current role with the Group as Head Chef at Stokehouse St Kilda, overseeing the relaunch of the iconic Melbourne…

The kitchen at Donna Chang, Brisbane feels like a frontier. A place where two cultures slam into each other at a breathtaking pace. Bubbling furiously is a wok in a broth laden with deep red, crimson chilli peppers. A young chef from Hong Kong tosses some rice around in another wok, his arm working like a piston on a locomotive. The air is filled with the aroma of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise along with…

Mat Picone, proprietor of Mansfield Coffee Merchant, has a solid hospitality background matched with a sense of creative business flair. He’s done his time working in both Melbourne cafés and coffee roasters like North Melbourne’s DiBella Coffee, plus has worked a string of winter seasons (2004-2009) at Mount Buller’s illustrious Chalet restaurant in Victoria’s high country, which is known for its contemporary dining and extensive list of 250 wines. It was through the eyes of…

It’s deceptively simple in appearance yet there are delicately nuanced flavours that take me by surprise – it’s a rare delight. This is my first little tasting plate at Botanic Wine Garden, Port Macquarie; it will be one of a pleasurable many. The dish is presented in an elegant shallow bowl that’s painted with ingredients: sashimi kingfish, buttermilk, apple, basil oil, green chilli and fennel – it looks beautiful and the wine match is stellar.…

Bills Fishhouse is one of Port Macquarie’s most respected and lively venues, a casual eatery featuring a gleaming open plan galley kitchen, a bar redolent of a coastal beach-hut and windows that open on to Clarence Street, allowing the fresh coastal breezes to flow inside. Tonight we share the dining room with a full house, and enjoy a welcoming and professional service that puts us immediately at ease. Fast become the seafood go-to centre of…

Howard Smith Wharves, the historic shipping precinct directly under the northern end of the iconic Story Bridge is a dramatic new destination that offers a magical 80 percent waterside public space as-well-as the new Art Series Hotel – The Fantauzzo. The district’s new river boardwalk now extends to New Farm ferry terminal. 5 Boundary St, Brisbane; artserieshotels.com.au/fantauzzo/ Directly under Story Bridge, and just metres from the hotel is Mr Percival’s. This is a magnificent realisation…

Each month Hot Plates Australia – Coast-to-Coast takes a look at some of the most exciting dishes around the nation, created by some of our top chefs. As the autumn produce and colour takes hold, here’s what’s happening this April. The Stunned Mullet, Port Macquarie, NSW Chef co-owner: Lou Perri Dish: Wagyu Short Rib, Japanese mustard, radish, granny smith apple, onion petals (pictured above) Slow cooked for 72 hours and finished in the pan, the…

The paint has barely dried on some of Brisbane’s newest venues. Perhaps the most obvious are those amongst Howard Smith Wharves – a historic shipping precinct directly under the northern end of the iconic storey bridge. Right on the water’s edge and wrapped by the escarpment of New Farm’s Wilsons Outlook, this dramatic new destination has 80% public space, a new Art Series Hotel – The Fantauzzo, plus a range of modern eateries including recently…

Situated among Southbank’s big city brands like Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Sake and Rockpool, a quiet achieving Argentinian-inspired eatery has popped up amongst the glam. It’s the new flavour of the month and we’re mighty pleased to be dining here. Uncomplicated, cleverly thought-out menus offer a great choice in tempting and deliciously flavoured, aromatic starters and sides. But the hero here at Asado Melbourne is unmistakably the meat… or so we’re told. The showpiece of the…

It’s been a long focus of Essentials to celebrate the many landmark icons of Melbourne, Australia – its sensational cafés, historic restaurants and art galleries; including its people: chefs, artists, designers and all the creative minds who have collectively shared in building the culturally rich tapestry that is the city we know and love today. British-born, Melbourne-based chef Ian Curley, like many before him, brings a wealth of knowledge and artisan colour to the region.…

Modern Siberia has arrived, embracing culinary flourishes from as far afield as France. Essentials discovers one of a new breed in Siberia’s capital city, Novosibirsk. Pardon My French, a wine bar located in Siberia’s bustling industrial hub, Novosibirsk, is a positive light, a beacon of civilised modern-world creativity and style. But for chef and owner François Fournier it didn’t come easy. Launching a French-inspired wine bar serving modernised Russian classics alongside wines from around the…

Melbourne-based chef Alejandro Saravia says he was inspired by Frank Camorra’s approach of introducing authentic Spanish cuisine to Australia, and felt confident to introduce true Peruvian cuisine – firstly with a series of pop-ups, then within Morena restaurant Sydney – and finally settling in Pastuso in ACDC Lane, Melbourne, opening in 2014. ‘Peruvian cuisine is very feminine – heather, with lighter approaches. Often milder chilis are used for flavour rather than heat; and lots of…

Each month Hot Plates Australia – Coast-to-Coast takes a look at some of the most exciting dishes around the nation, created by some of our top chefs. Autumn it seems has finally arrived in Australia – here’s what’s happening this March. MPD Steak Kitchen (Beaney Lane Pop-up), Melbourne Executive Chef: Chris Bonello Dish: Salmon Skin Sandwich, pickles, chimichurri mayo Crisps anyone? From 26 March 2019, the award-winning Berwick (Victoria) restaurant MPD Steak Kitchen will stage…

We’re sitting in Provenance restaurant admiring the simplified new interior and listening to the playlist. Chef Michael Ryan puts as much effort into his music as he does the food on the plate. Velvet Underground. R.E.M. Cowboy Junkies. Smooth, rich sounds of the late 20th century purring sweetly into this grand old bank building. The new cool green walls, moss green carpet and minimalist decoration by Meme Designs highlights the soaring ceiling and high Victorian…

It’s early evening and the warm glow of the bistro spills out from the broad verandah into the street. Inside, the Edison lamps bathe the beautifully simple dining room with golden light. Woven cane bistro chairs sit at hardwood tables, each set with fine wine glasses, cutlery and cloth napery. Beechworth’s Ox and Hound is a real local bistro, the place where you can dine several times a week or drop in for an exceptionally…

Its no secret that the extensive 2017 redevelopment of Rutherglen Estates’ cellar door, featuring the newly established Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery within the same historic 1880s Seppelts Cellars building, has in recent years seen a marked increase in visitation; however its Tuileries Restaurant – within the same complex – at the time perhaps had not stepped up to the mark, that is until the much needed recent arrival of French-born head chef Christoph Niklaus; who’s culinary…

It is one of the best oysters I have had in a long time. Fat and flinty, it sits on the half shell brimming with salty brine. ‘I grew up with oysters,’ says Jones Winery Restaurant chef Briony Bradford. Raised in Albury, but spending years living on the oyster-rich Sapphire Coast of New South Wales, the globetrotting chef recently achieved a long-term desire to cook in a beautiful winery restaurant. She worked under Claude Bosi…

French-born Australian chef Philippe Leban knows a thing or two about the importance of premium food ingredients. While his personal style in cooking is centred around a keen focus in traditional French technique, born of his time training in France under multi-Michelin star heavyweights Alain Passard and Hélène Darroze, his dishes first appear to paint a greater picture of the produce used, rather than of his wonderfully honed skills creating them. Current owner/operator of Hobart’s…

What does consecutive years of work in Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant test kitchen do to a chef, and what kind of person must you be to stick it out? So the story goes, before a dish makes the grade at Heston’s The Fat Duck restaurant, elements of its composition must be designed, measured, crafted and perfected. Repetition in cooking, testing, comparing and reporting on each dish’s elements – noting temperature, timing, texture, scent and taste –…

Harry’s Singapore Chilli Crab is a Sydney restaurant icon. Having opened in 1982, its fed half the city and almost all of its local celebrities at one time or another including famous names like Olympic swim star Dawn Fraser and pop Queens The Veronicas just to name a few. These days the restaurant sits within heritage-listed Wentworth House, adjoining Veriu Central hotel. It is connected by an undercover courtyard that’s been cleverly repurposed as the…

Va Tutto restaurant in Ivanhoe, a leafy North East suburb of Melbourne is an icon. Operated by husband and wife team, Paul and Myrto Recinella, Va Tutto is currently in its twelfth year; its fine food heritage going back a further 16 years, as the pair previously operated Zeo’s in East Melbounre. Achieving The Age Good Food Guide one hat status for 7 years in a row, Paul explains that continually working to meet this,…

Chef Luke Mangan has transformed his Sydney restaurant headquarters, offering a unique inner-urban neighbourhood bistro that plates up spice-trade influences and modern Australian fare. Essentials’ Jamie Durrant spoke to Luke about the new business and the goings on inside his Sydney warehouse. The menu at Luke’s Kitchen includes a subtle layering of local and central Asian tastes like curry-spiced banana chips, preserved lemons, nam jim sauce plus coconut yoghurt, ice-cream and broths. It feels like…

It is early autumn and the Ovens River slides quietly over the rocks below the gardens of Ginger Baker. It is one of the long warm days that make up a perfect Indian summer. A rustic post-and-rail fence mark out the sprawling courtyard garden, shaded by a towering elm. Widely spaced tables and dry bars gives the outdoor space a resort style feel. The head chef at this popular riverside wine bar and café, Ganesh…

It’s time to wine and dine on the Apple Isle Why eat in a bland room when you can dine in an orchard, on a tiny island or in an art gallery? New restaurant openings in Tasmania show what a creative bunch get up to when they’re hungry. Leading the pack is the The Lounge by Frogmore Creek (winery), which has hung its shingle in the MAC01 building on Hobart’s waterfront. It serves not only…