Saturday, November 20, 2010


Melbourne, unfortunately, is not home to any of the S. Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants of the World. Melbourne, however, does have Attica, ranked #73.

I am not sure what compelled me to decide to try Attica, because frankly, its a damn long drive. But I am glad I did. I have to come out and say it though, Attica won't be for everyone. The food is not classical, it is not familiar and it definitely pushes the boundaries of what we Melbournians are used to.

To begin, like all restaurants, bread and butter or oil. But Attica does it slightly differently. Emulsified, and whipped olive oil (that spreads like butter - I know what the !!! was brilliant. Even house made butter, I can't believe I'm raving about butter but it was really good butter).

Amuse bouche, of raw white asparagus (from koo wee rup, so I would assume it is organic), and walnut with a walnut sauce and some microleaf which I was not sure what it was - maybe sunflower?). I didn't realise you could eat asparagus raw...but the next day I didn't have time to cook my lunch so I also used raw asparagus for my salad. The stuff you get from supermarkets just doesn't taste the same :(.

Snow crab with horseradish powder. Very very interesting and to some degree quite challenging to eat. Ultra light powder (which I assume would be horseradish that was freeze dried), was extremely light that would "dissolve". But don't breathe whilst you're eating it because it's like blowing powder everywhere.

Marron Tail, Leek, Egg Yolk and Onion Weed Bulb, was the dish of the night for me. Superb marron. That is all.

"A simple dish of potato cooked in the earth it was grown," is apparently a potato that is cooked for a long time, in the soil it was grown (I'm not quite sure how you can cook potato in soil...but sometimes, you just don't ask questions. Just don't ASK questions). Interesting flavour of potato, nothing like I've ever tasted before.

Snapper with crust of quinoa, shitake broth and broccolini florets. Extremely well cooked fish, nice toasty quinoa, and "green" broccolini florets. Florets was a little harsh and in my opinion did not add to the dish, but may have actually taken away from its overall success.

"Pork Tail, Pickled Onion, Red Melon, Dune Spinach" Pork was extremely fatty, but luckily only a small serving so much much more tolerable. Great texture and flavour. Watermelon did add a fresh element to break the fattyness.

"Beef, Sea Lettuce, White Cabbage" had fermented black sesame and potato cooked in squid ink (I think). The potato chips (2), cooked in squid ink was extremely salty. Far to salty for me (and I love love love salt). Could only be tolerated by eating it simultaneously with the meat.

Terroir, crumbs, dried fruit, sorrel sorbet, and yoghurt centre. Very sharp sharp flavours. Texturally sophisticated, but quite a lot to eat given how strong the flavours were. Could have been smaller to balance the set menu out.

Apple, Olive, Warm Shredded Wheat aka in my opinion "apple crumble" was excellent. Acidic apples with cinnamon crumbs. Just how apple crumble should taste!!

Complimentary white chocolate eggs with caramel. Frighteningly real.

Overall, Attica provides a great dinner. It doesn't "feel" like an occasion restaurant because perhaps it is noisier than most "occasion" restaurants. Service however, was impeccable. I think the word is genuine. Genuinely nice, sophisticated, and experienced service. Not too stuffy, but not too casual.

74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea

Attica on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 12, 2010

S is for Stuff...but S is also for Sydney.

Sydney has, perhaps, some of the most iconic landmarks of Australia, but being from Melbourne, I find it hard to really love Sydney.  I find myself thinking about the comparisons between Melbourne and Sydney, but to avoid a post becoming a Melbourne vs Sydney post, I will just stick to what I did in Sydney...which wasn't much.

Paddington Street Alimentari
I remember seeing this on Getaway and thought it seemed pretty cool. But it really wasn't anything special, just a corner store cafe, with people and their poodles and shit like that. Coffee was watery, weak and not worth the effort. Nice location, nothing to write home about.

Bourke Street Bakery
Brilliant location. Tiny bakery, but packed packed packed. Even with construction on the road (which I note was excruciatingly noisy), people were still "dining in", and even people just standing outside munching on their sandwiches/rolls.

Praline pastry and strawberry brulee on left and roast beef sandwich on right. Damn I  love roast beef sandwiches.

Guylian Chocolate Cafe
Seriously, don't bother. Don't even bother. Goto Maccas and get a chocolate shake. You rarely see me say on this blog, don't bother. But seriously, DON'T BOTHER. Dissinterested and rude service mediocre cakes and chocolate. Just fly back to Melbourne and goto Lindt.

Sydney Cove Oyster Bar
Fantastic view, and can only imagine it being even better in Summer. Generally good food, but I have to say this about the sand whiting - SERIOUSLY? Why would a restaurant serve this whole? It had so so many pin bones, that the next day I thought I had a pin bone lodged in my  throat cause eating it had obviously irritated something. It was definitely not a safe dish to eat. In all fairness however, it tasted fantastic, if I could ignore fact that I feared for my life the whole time eating it! Yes, I'm being dramatic, but you would be too.

Sydney, Paddington St, Sydney Harbour, Bourke St (in Surrey Hills)...

Bourke Street Bakery on Urbanspoon