There were chicken schnitzel rolls before Dom Wilton, but how many were beautiful enough to photograph, frame and hang in the home?
The man behind Richmond and South Melbourne sandwich sensation Hector’s Deli is responsible for some of the city’s tastiest lunching, and he’ll be bringing his wares – specifically a certain sausage, egg and cheese muffin that has had the city in a tizzy of late – to the Village Feast for the MFWF Regional Edition.
Hovering over a hundred half-built sandwiches with a pint of Hector’s’ hectic sauce, here’s Wilton, the bread baron of Coventry Street, with everything he loves to eat and drink in Melbourne.
My local is Pacific BBQ Seafood House on Toorak Road. I believe it’s the best roast duck in Melbourne. The staff are all incredible and it’s BYO. Order XO pippies, soy chicken, eggplant and pork clay pot, and lobster on garlic noodles.
I know I’m in Melbourne when I get judged for ordering my coffee extra hot. I like it volcanic.
In the mornings you’ll find me changing nappies, drinking instant coffee. Breakfast at Florian is the best in Melbourne when I find the time.
My defining food moment in Melbourne was… I have two. One: in 2006, maybe 2007, when my friend Nawin Santikan showed me the fish-fragrant eggplant dish at Dainty Sichuan. So vivid. Two: a memory of mum taking me into France-Soir for crème brûlée between services. I was too young to know what a trendy restaurant was, but I knew it was a special moment.
My favourite place to stock up on supplies is Prahran Market, because I grew up southside and it feels like home. I know the butcher, the cheesemonger and the fruiterer. A sunny morning in the courtyard eating baked goods from Q Le Baker with my wife and kids is hard to beat.
The best new thing I’ve found are the cinnamon rolls made by our pastry chef, Peaches. Incredible.
When I want to push the boat out on a meal, I France-Soir. How could you not! The best dining room in Melbourne. Ideally, we’d reserve the back right table by the cheese window and the swinging kitchen doors. Oysters, beef tartare, escargot, steak au poivre, profiteroles, cheese. Heaps of Burgundy and hopefully a shot of Calvados with Jimmy on the way out. Don’t forget to look up at the glossy mustard ceiling!
When I want to dazzle friends from out of town, I like to take them to the Mornington Peninsula, if I can manage to secure a table at Tedesca. The Mornington Peninsula is quintessentially Victorian and would blow anyone away. Fish Fetish Sorrento for the best fish and chips in Melbourne, followed by a vanilla slice at you-know-where (The Vanilla Slice Café Sorrento).
When I want to drink something Victorian, my first choice is the Cri de Coeur from Crittenden Estate. My favourite example of savagnin in Victoria. It’s amazing. Also Sorrenberg gamay – good luck securing a bottle though.
There’s no better value in Melbourne than Tom Toon Thai on Victoria Street in Richmond. An independently owned Thai restaurant that will leave you thinking everything else tastes bland. Insanely good food and way too cheap.
If I could change one thing about eating and drinking here it would be unnecessary mark-ups on wine lists. Drinking wine out has become less fun. Mark-ups are becoming silly.
But the one thing I hope never changes in Melbourne is Thai-owned Thai restaurants, Chinese-owned Chinese restaurants, Vietnamese-owned Vietnamese restaurants and so on.