Sunday, 11 August 2013


I don't really have a blogging niche.

Not a mummy blogger, not a foodie blogger, not a political blogger, not a feminism blogger, not a fashion blogger.

I have a lot of interests though, lots of passions, lots of things I like to talk about, or indeed have a conversation about.

If it was not already evident, one my biggest interests is food and wine.

In Melbourne, we are absolutely spoiled for choice and many Melburnians can rightly call themselves connoisseurs.

I have been lucky enough to travel and taste some of the world's cuisines, from the humble and cheap to the haute cuisine. I love it all.

Right on our doorstep, a 5 minute drive from where the fella lives, is the restaurant Attica.

This year, Attica reached number 21 in the World's 50 Best Restaurants.

It goes without saying that there is a bit of a wait to get in to dine here. We booked 4 months ago, aiming for the time of our 1 year anniversary.

We went there on Friday.

I have been to Mugaritz, a few years ago. Mugaritz is in San Sebastian, Spain. We couldn't get into El Bulli. Mugaritz is 4th in the world.

I can say that my experience at Attica equalled that at Mugaritz.

I will stop yabbering, here are the photos.

The Menu. We had the matched wines.

Amuse Bouche: Mustard Greens and Creme Fraiche, Lemon Myrtle.

Amuse Bouche: Walnut cream with pine mushrooms

Amuse Bouche: Mussels. Mussel Shell with painting of Mussel farmer.

Slovakian Wine - Who Knew?

Crab with Sorrel


Orange Wine - Who knew?

Potato in Earth - Signature Dish.


Fish in Paperbark

Apple Vinegar Icecream

Plight of the bees - a multi-layered fruity delight.

Pukeko (chocolate) eggs - painting by chef's father.

Between the sweet and savoury courses, we were shown the kitchen garden out the back. A couple of the chefs showed us where they grew the greens that were nicely arranged on our plate. They gave us some hot apple cider and a marshmallow to toast over the fire.

It is worth noting that a lot of the rest of the vegetable matter is either grown at Ripponlea Estate (a Stately Home just down the road) or foraged from near the head chef's home.

Kitchen Garden

Toasting the marshmallows

You saw on the menu what we paid.

Plus we had champagne and gave them a tip.

There will be quite a few people who say "how could you pay that much?".

The price is on par with other restaurants of the calibre, FYI.

It was wonderful and we really enjoyed it. Here was what was so good about it:

  • The service was perfect. Assured, intuitive, elegant and friendly. Quite a few waiters were from overseas, mostly Europe, presumably doing some sort of fine-dining hospitality training.
  • The wine matching - there were some unusual varieties of wine on the menu, many of which I have never tried before, and I always get a kick out of trying a new variety of wine. The wonderful thing, though, was that, on their own, the wines were probably not what I would pick, but with the food, they really sang. The wines came out before the courses, so we could try them on their own. This is the art of the sommelier.
  • For a top notch restaurant, it was quite down to earth. There was not the flashy crowd dripping in bling that you would see at Vue de Monde. No regulars. Just lots of food enthusiasts.
  • Similarly, the food was all local and seasonal, and mostly fairly ordinary foods (albeit of the best quality), lifted by the chef into something sublime. No foie gras or truffles.
  • That we got to see the kitchen garden - it is great to see some of the process. They have an open part of the kitchen where we can see the chefs working. Mugaritz went one better and took us into the kitchen, but they weren't busy.
Ben Shewry, the head chef, is a New Zealander. Most Kiwis are fiercely patriotic (my fella is a Kiwi) and this patriotism (for the antipodes in general) really showed in his culinary creations. The Potato dish is a nod to a Maori hangi. He does not need any fancy French food or magic to make the food sublime. The pride in the produce, the final product and the wine pairings was evident, was duly warranted and it was exciting.

If you can, do try and go. It is worth the hype.


  1. Am salivating. Especially love the honeycomb ensemble. So beautiful. All the dishes look like art sculptures. Happy anniversary. x

  2. What a treat for great occasion! I miss Melbourne food and coffee soooooo much. People look at me funny when I say that bc I live in a huge city like London. But it hasn't got a patch on old Melbourne. Would like to try apple vinegar ice cream out of curiosity. Ps that why I love your blog bc it isn't too niche!

  3. We loved our meal at Attica too! Good to see that the potato is still there too! He's very creative isn't he? :)

  4. God. amazing.

    As I was reading it I was thinking it all sounded very 'kiwi'(particularly cooking potatoes in the earth! A very expensive hangi!) and nice to see I guessed correctly....

    I would happily pay that much for an experience you'll remember forever. Food is an incredible memory-maker and you will talk about this meal for years.