Header image: 150-day-aged steak at Firedoor, Sydney
For the second leg of its global tour in 2017, The World's 50 Best Restaurants is heading to Melbourne, Australia.
While the stereotype of shrimps on the barbie is well-known worldwide, fewer people know about the vast gastronomic landscape spanning Australia that's just waiting to be explored.
Sydneysider Pat Nourse, 50 Best's Academy Chair for Oceania, Australia & New Zealand, talks us through 10 top things to try when in Oz.
1. Balmain bug pikelets at Bennelong, Sydney
Bennelong Point, Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Native crustaceans meet blini-like mini-pancakes in a savoury party under the sails of the Sydney Opera House.
2. Abalone roasted in bull kelp at Franklin, Hobart
28 Argyle St, Hobart, Tasmania
Read about Franklin in the Diners Club 50 Best Discovery Series
Tasmania’s most prized cold-water shellfish, the rakish flair of chef David Moyle and the magic of a wood-fired Scotch oven: it’s a match made in dining heaven.
3. Marron and local watercress at Orana, Adelaide
Chef Jock Zonfrillo, a Glaswegian of Italian descent, might seem an unlikely champion of indigenous Australian culinary culture, but one taste of his inspired use of local ingredients brings his arguments vividly to life.
4. Rendang roti rolls at Rapid Creek markets, Darwin
Culinary life is never more vibrant in the Northern Territory than amidst the smoke and colour of its markets, the heart of the Darwin social scene. A Malaysian roti hot from the griddle, packed with spicy kapitan-style curry and shredded cucumber, is breakfasting for champions.
5. Pippies in XO sauce at Golden Century, Sydney
393-399 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Momofuku’s David Chang says this signature from Sydney’s best-loved late-night Cantonese eatery – surf clams with stir-fried vermicelli in spicy XO sauce – is “the best dish in the world”. No one in Sydney is arguing the point.
6. A flat white at Market Lane, Melbourne
Image: Tourism Australia
Coffee aficionados agree that the milk-work in Australian cafés is the best in the world. What they don’t agree on is who does the best, but none would disagree that Market Lane is a great place to start.
7. 150-day-aged steak at Firedoor, Sydney
23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Australian beef is some of the finest in the world, and it more than meets its match in the kitchen of Lennox Hastie, a British-Australian former Asador Etxebarri head chef who has radical ideas about dry-aging.
8. Double-boiled wallaby tail soup at Flower Drum, Melbourne
17 Market Lane, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Chinese technique refined over the centuries extracts the essence of flavour from this cousin to the kangaroo, complemented with wolfberries and yam, all served in a soigné setting with courtly service in the old Hong Kong style.
9. Nam prik nuum sandwiches at Boon, Sydney
425 Pitt Street, Haymarket, NSW 2000
Australian café culture (sourdough, cultured butter) meets authentically spicy pungent Thai cooking (hot! sour! pungent!) on a sandwich unforgettably packed with pork, boiled eggs and greens.
10. Kosher GLT at Bar Liberty, Melbourne
234 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
Irreverent or just plain loopy? Melbourne newcomer Bar Liberty rides the new wine-bar wave, but never surrenders its own peculiarity, whether it’s the thoroughly natural bent to the wine list, the collection of miniature muscle-cars filled with bourbon, or the GLT, which ditches bacon in favour of gribenes, Jewish-style fried chicken skin, alongside the lettuce and tomato in this take on the classic.