Melbourne, wow.. What to say? If you call yourself a foodie or a sincere food lover you really have to go there. The food culture in Melbourne is huge and it’s so far ahead of it’s time compared to The Netherlands where I live. Or better to say, we’re staying behind. Not only do all the places in Melbourne look amazing, the food is spectacular as well. Breakfast in Australia is not just a sandwich with cheese, you will be shown a completely new way to interpret your ‘brekkie’. Same thing for lunch and dinner.. From baristas to cooks to waiters, they all know what they’re talking about and they’re all very passionate about what they do. I would love to go back there again and try everything Melbourne has to offer. If only it wasn’t on the other side of the world..
– Babu Ji
– Books for Cooks
– Brooklyn Arts Hotel
– Cutler & Co
– Fifty Acres
– Kettle Black
– N0 2 Extreme Gelato
– Smith Street Alimentari
– Top Paddock
The Kettle Black
The Kettle Black
Smith Street Alimentari
Cutler & Co
Meet Rachid. Moved to Australia about 15 years ago to escape the cold and rainy Dutch weather. Now he’s a schoolbus driver, a camping manager and in the weekends selling the most delicious waffles in the burning, hot sun on the Dukes Highway, in a tiny village called Coonalpyn. On our long way from Melbourne to Adelaide we passed his little stand, immediately turned around and made a stopover to devour the sweet maple syrup waffle.. Exactly what we needed after hours and hours of driving.
Waffles & Jaffles
Danish beauty Höst in Copenhagen, French favorite Septime in Paris, and now there’s the third place to add to my personal top 3 of most beautiful restaurants: The Kettle Black.
Nestled in a gorgeous, 1880s, typical Victorian house. In contrast with the big sleek, modern apartment towers build around it but it works together perfectly and almost makes it look like a surrealistic artwork. And this is just the outside..
Inside you’ll find honeycomb mosaic tiles, green ceramic tiles, concrete, wood, plants, marble, brass: everything merges seamlessly. It’s light, elegant, stylish, detailed and simplistic. Perfectly designed by Studio You Me.
Not only the interior is a pleasure to look at, the dishes are real artworks as well. I was happy to see they serve the huge ricotta hotcakes I saw coming by earlier at their other venue Top Paddock and a lot on social media like Instagram as well. I was glad I finally got to taste them an they didn’t disappoint at all! Neither did the home-made colorful decorated coconut yoghurt and the cray fish roll. Looked and cooked perfectly.
Ohh.. how I miss having my Australian ‘brekkie’..
The Kettle Black, 50 Albert Road, South Melbourne VIC 3205, Australië
I must admit, when there’s peanut butter involved you have my attention. Combine it with banana and I’m sold. I didn’t even need to see N2 Extreme Gelato’s way of making their ice-cream to be convinced to take the banana, peanut butter sorbet. But I admit again, the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the ice definitely looked impressive.
The nitrogen boils off when it comes in contact with anything warmer than itself so gloves and protective glasses are a must while making the ice-cream. It results in smooth textures and means they’re able to make gelato in order to serve it super fresh and at the perfect temperature.
I found out you can submit a flavour online to maken your own perfect combination. I would like to refine the one I had, add some extra’s and make it more Elvis worthy: Peanut butter, caramelized banana combined with maple syrup and salty bacon. And on top of that, I wouldn’t mind a bit of chocolate as well. Ultimate guilty pleasure..
Submit your own flavour and find out more about N2 Extreme Gelato on their website.
329 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Melbourne
One of the best surprises in Melbourne: Cutler & Co. After a long, hot and sweaty day of wandering through Melbourne we accidentally walked by Cutler & Co. The good looking restaurant caught our eye. At that time our experience in Melbourne already learned us all the places in Australia that look good actually serve good food as well so we stepped in. Wearing shorts, flip flops and messy hair immediately made us feel a bit uncomfortable when we saw the beautiful interior but the friendly staff at the door made us feel welcome anyway. Unfortunately they were fully booked that evening but we got ourselves a table for the next one. Without doing any more research we dressed up the next evening to eat at Cutler & Co, not knowing the restaurant was voted nr 7 in the top 10 best Australian restaurants by Gourmet Traveller. The restaurant is classy but unpretentious. You’ll find a mix of diners ranging from young couples to business meetings and family-get-togethers. The enthusiastic, friendly and well informed service team knew how to precisely introduce the dishes without overdoing it and kept us focussed on the degustation menu with paired juices en excellent wines. We started off with a delicious Ortiz anchovy pastry, followed by the tuna tartar with slightly smoked kohlrabi, fromage blanc, bottarga and lavas. This might have been the highlight of my meal although the following course with pickled mussels, bean salad and almond, fennel cream was very, very impressive as well. And of course the rest of the meal is also worth mentioning. Like the Flounder with blackened leek, pickled onion and Brown Butter. The smoked duck breast, salsify and prunes. The dry aged lamb saddle, confit belly, garlic sauce and fermented carrot. Dessert was no letdown either. In fact, the buttermilk ice-cream with melon, cucumber, verbana jelly and thickened melon juice was in our top 3 dishes at Cutler & Co. as well! Happily surprised by how good the food was I did some research afterwards and found out Chef Andrew McConnell is a veteran of the Melbourne restaurant scene an has won just about every award going during his career. His restaurant group also includes Cummulus Inc, Supernormal, Moon Under Water/ Builders Arms Hotel and Luxembourg. I visited Builders Arms Hotel and I’ve put the rest on the list for my next visit to Australia! 55–57 Gertrude St. Fitzroy 3065, Melbourne
Embossed wallpaper, glitters, Bollywood, color explosions, fake candles.. I admit, I’m a big fan of the typical tacky Indian restaurants, as long as they serve good food.
On the contrary there’s Babu Ji in St. Kilda. It’s the first white walled Indian restaurant I ever visited. The interior is clean, simple and stylish but the hospitable staff, a few shiny details, hand-painted Hindi phrases and amazing photos on the walls made sure the Indian heritage was very well represented. The lack of color in the interior was compensated by the color-bomb-dishes which were just as tasteful as they were colorful. The tandoori charred Macedon Ranges lamb chops combined with raita were favorite but the mustard seed and coconut fish curry really made me want to lick the bowl. Okay, maybe I did..
So, forget everything you think you know about Indian restaurants. Babu Ji is modern with a sense of fun and serves the kind of feel-good food I’m always in the mood for.
The George Building
4–6 Grey Street
St Kilda, Melbourne
Chef Jessi and his wife Jennifer also run the populair Indian restaurant Horn Please in Fitzroy North which I hope to visit when I get back to Melbourne again!
Back to Melbourne! One of my favorite places I visited so far is Top Paddock in Richmond. People are queuing up to find themselves a spot in this popular restaurant. With over a hundred seats, the waiting doesn’t take too long and it isn’t bad at all, especially not when enjoying one of their home roasted coffee’s. And let me tell you: It’s worth the wait.
The menu offered many dishes that sounded very appealing. I was curious for the sticky black ginger bread with drunken cherries & chocolate ganache but diet-wise (after weeks of indulging myself) I chose the gin & lime cured Huon ocean trout fillet with pickled beetroots, potato galette, poached eggs and goats curd, which didn’t let me down at all.
Not only visually a beautiful dish but a beautiful balance of flavors as well! My partner had the soft shell mud crab with a fennel and dille salad on a brioche bun, one of their best selling lunch dishes and it was obvious why.
Despite the busy lunch, the service was up to scratch and very prompt. This restaurant is managed and runned by professionals who, as I later learned, also run the successful restaurants Three Bags Full, APTE and Two Birds One Stone.
Hmm, my Australia to-visit list is getting longer and longer each day and I have only 2 more weeks to go..
Mon – Fri: 7am-4pm
Sat – Sun: 8am-4pm
658 Church St, Richmond, Melbourne