The Ritz-Carlton Melbourne is finally open, a towering sight to behold at the western end of Lonsdale Street. Pressed up against the floor-to-ceiling windows of the 80th floor, Atria is its pièce de résistance: a fine diner in the fullest sense with one enviable view. Piloted by chef Michael Greenlaw, a spearfishing enthusiast with a passion for the deeper cuts of the ocean, Atria offers an elegant, nuanced take on seasonal, local dining where the crudo might be long boarfish, the crumpets are fried and enrobed in wagyu bresaola and where the roast chicken is stuffed for the winter, naturally, with Victorian truffles.
Peering out over the trade routes from Australia’s tallest hotel, here’s Greenlaw now with what to order when you climb for the culinary heavens.
How about a drink?
The Atria – our take on the classic Martini. We infuse Melbourne Gin Company Dry Gin with Geraldton wax and mix it with a floral vermouth and white port. It’s a fresh take on the beloved Martini and the perfect aperitif to enjoy with one of our appetizers. The Geraldton wax is hand-picked by our friends at Spurrell Foraging weekly and delivered to us fresh.
Another favourite is the Beeswax Old Fashioned – another spin on a classic. Using Starward Whisky in place of the traditional bourbon, plus a smoky whisky, Drambuie and a touch of chocolate. The whole cocktail is rested in a vessel lined with local beeswax for a week, which is also sourced from our friends at Spurrell Foraging, and then served to our guests.
I’m here for a good time, not a long time.
A seat at our 19-metre Victorian ash bar is the perfect spot for a snack, directly in front of the chefs who love to talk you through the menu. Try the yuba tart and the Blackmore wagyu bresaola and horseradish crumpet. Our yuba tart is vegan, and features mushroom XO and a delicious thin and crunchy yuba skin brushed with maple syrup and dashi jelly. The Blackmore wagyu crumpet is steamed, and then pan-fried in beurre noisette for a crisp exterior and a soft, textured centre. We top this with Somerset Farm horseradish cream and a jammy egg yolk, before draping the Blackmore wagyu bresaola, aged for three months for a sweet musky aroma and a nutty finish, over the top, and finish it all with shaved horseradish.
Pair that with a French 80: a superb cocktail in which pommeau de Normandie and Armagnac come together with local Australian sparkling and lemon myrtle.
Got anything light and fresh?
My love of the ocean, freediving and the sustainable practice of spearfishing in particular, has taught me a lot about the species which live in Port Phillip Bay and the back beaches of Victoria. There is an incredible amount of delicious fish that typically don’t feature on Melbourne menus. We work closely with Two Hands, a company that connects chefs with producers, and who’ve been able to connect me with local fishermen that sustainably fish those species I see when I’m freediving. It’s been such an honour to showcase these inspiring creatures in Atria.
A really nice, light start to your meal is our Victorian crudo, currently featuring longsnout boarfish, silver trevally and grass whiting (known by fishers as “strangers”), matched with pickled shiso, white soy and Tasmanian wasabi.
What if I like tasty food but don’t eat animals?
We’ve turned the humble butternut pumpkin from near Ballarat into a multi-layered terrine with a cervelle de canut, or what we like to call a cheese dip. To finish off the dish we’ve made a pumpkin-seed miso, which is spread onto a Gippsland Jersey butter croissant dough that has been shaped into a scroll. Get the full experience by using your hands to dip the flaky, just-baked scroll into the spread.
Name the dish that captures the Atria vibe.
Like the Victorian crudo, the hand-picked Tasmanian crab with coral custard highlights the unusual, hard-to-find ingredients and produce we get excited about. This crab is caught at depths of up to 800 metres in the waters of Bass Strait, and can grow to be one of the largest crabs in the world. We receive these beautiful creatures live and use every part to create a dish that’s sweet, delicate, fresh and buttery, with a surprising pop of citrus from the finger limes.
Let’s go big. Let’s go crazy. What have you got for me?
Indulge in all of the above, and round out the experience with a wood-roasted southern rock lobster and reginette pasta, followed by the wood-fired roasted black truffle chicken . The cray is cooked in the wood-fired Josper grill and sits on hand-made reginette, soaking up the bisque-style sauce, and is a great dish to share. The truffled chicken crown is brined and stuffed with Oakhill truffles and served tableside. Get your hands sticky and make sure you dip the honey and fennel pollen milk bun in the truffle madeira jus, which is poured over the chicken at the table. Last year, we braved the cold and visited Ian and Merilyn Woodhouse at Oakhill truffles who took us foraging with their dog, Sally.
And to close?
Finish with a warm brandy-soaked baba with house-made mandarin marmalade and crème diplomat: a guest favourite.