Published on 22 October 2019
I know I’m in Melbourne when I hear the ting-ting-ting! of a tram making its way down Bourke Street.
My first defining food moment in Melbourne was when my dad took me to Cellar Bar at Florentino for a bowl of pasta. We sat at the bar and it was when I fell in love with the place and food in general in Melbourne. It’s such an honour to continue the legacy that is Florentino. Our family have been operating it for 20 years now and we never take for granted the privilege that comes with it.
The best new thing I’ve found is using the park outside the MCG as a playground for my dog when it’s not game day. It’s got beautiful lawns and dogs can go off-lead.
When I want to push the boat out on a meal, I go toFrance-Soir, order everything I love and then pick a few bottles of extraordinary Burgundy to go with it. And when I say everything, I mean everything: double entrée, some things to share between entrée and main, then main course, dessert and cheese to finish. The snails, the brains and the tartare are essential dishes for me.
There’s no better value in Melbourne than a Bunnings sausage on a Saturday morning.
And when I want to dazzle friends from out of town, I like to take them somewhere beautiful and refined, but still relaxed, like Matilda 159 Domain. The food is simple but elegant. It’s the kind of place you can keep going back to and enjoy every time. Or we’ll head out of Melbourne and go to Geelong to visit Igni. Aaron Turner’s food is not only unique, it’s executed in an extremely elegant way. Each dish has been so well thought-out to create an unbelievable dining experience. Plus the front-of-house team always make you feel like you’re at home with them. It’s a beautiful place to spend your time.
In the mornings you’ll find me at the Cellar Bar having my morning coffee. Or if it’s a weekend I’m probably with my pup Maximus on a walk to get breakfast or coffee somewhere dog-friendly, like Patch in Richmond or Mavis the Grocer in Abbotsford.
My local changes depending on whether I’m working or at home. I love to head to Kenzan for Japanese after finishing work or, if I’m close to home, we often go to The Royston for a great pub meal. I always opt for the steak and hasselback potatoes. Who doesn't love a hasselback?
If I could change one thing about eating and drinking here it would be fewer things that try to be cool for the sake of it. Eating out is about creating an experience for your guests, not creating something that is just Instagrammable.
But the one thing I hope never changes in Melbourne is how we have access to all kinds of food, cuisines and concepts at so many different levels.