- Bruce McAvaney's good, isn't he?
- When and where: Melbourne's lunar eclipse
- Touching cover for Chrissy
- Magistrate: 'Worst drink-driving I've seen'
- What are Victorians obsessed with?
- Ian Thorpe in intensive care
- Rumour File: Anzac Day clash shake-up
- On-the-spot fines for fare evaders
- RSS Syndicate this blog (XML)
What we're talking about
- Dame Mylene on Late-night shopping for Melbourne It's been legal to open shops late since John Cain. JB was open until 10PM every night until it stopped being profitable. I ... more
- Colin Lacivita on Late-night shopping for Melbourne There is no need to open stores later in the city, the Mayor is out of touch. JB Hi Fi is already open til 9PM weekdays, ... more
- ian on Late-night shopping for Melbourne Gee I feel sorry tor the employees and owners,what tea at 8pm,???? No putting the kids to bed.This is a joke. more
- Saff on Bruce McAvaney's good, isn't he? I agree! He is so talented! more
- Dame Mylene on Sun silenced on 'Lawyer X' Hopefully the producers of Underbelly don't hear about this. That show ran out of goodwill 4 years ago. Underbelly: Lawyer X ... more
- jgl Melb on Sun silenced on 'Lawyer X' Anyone who doesn't know the identity of this,so called,lawyer X has been living in a cave for the last 10 odd years. more
- Gloss on Sun silenced on 'Lawyer X' The Herald Sun obviously know the identity of Lawyer X, how would they feel if his/her name is 'leaked' and he/she is ... more
- Aria Judilla on Scrap spring for sprinter and sprummer: ... Why do we need to label certain times of the year spring or summer or winter or spring anyway? Of what benefit is it? more
- mark on Scrap spring for sprinter and sprummer: ... of course its april the 1st more
- Dame Mylene on Scrap spring for sprinter and sprummer: ... I'm with Tony Abbott. Who needs CSIRO scientists when you've got Dorothea Mackellar (of drought and flooding rains), Neil ... more
- Willow on Bruce McAvaney's good, isn't he? I love Bruces' commentary and the informed info he gives along the way. more
- Gloria on Scrap spring for sprinter and sprummer: ... I have been saying all along that it is not Global Warming we are experiencing, it is Climate Change. I am 74 and the ... more
- Phillip Molly Malone on Footy shake-up to change 'win-lose' ... I would be interested how many of the commenters here have kids going through this! I umpired my sons under 10s game and ... more
- Shane W on Bruce McAvaney's good, isn't he? Most unbiased commentator around. Keep it up Bruce. more
- Katie Rantall on Footy shake-up to change 'win-lose' ... I'm a tad confused I agree with all the comments Life is all bout winners, losers, perseverence, get knocked down U get back ... more
- Dame Mylene on Footy shake-up to change 'win-lose' ... People have to realise there's winners and losers in society. If we can drum it into them before they get to primary school ... more
- Susan on Footy shake-up to change 'win-lose' ... They need to do something as numbers are falling every year in junior footy, while Soccer numbers are rising. It's very ... more
- David Tait on Footy shake-up to change 'win-lose' ... If parents don't want the kids to win or lose, perhaps riding a bike would be better. The majority of all games are ... more
- Willow on Footy shake-up to change 'win-lose' ... What incentive does this give the kids to 'play to win' as there are no winners. They don't have to put all their efforts in ... more
- Sinbad on Footy shake-up to change 'win-lose' ... What a load of crap ! Typical wimp policies from idiotic social engineers who believe everyone is equal and everyone should ... more
Ela Carte climbs up into the Attica
Attica – 74 Glen Eira Road Ripponlea – www.attica.com.au
Well, I’m pretty slow off the mark, but there’s one experience I can now tick off the bucket list. After sampling some phenomenal European restaurants over winter, I felt lazy in a way for not having visited what is roundly agreed to be Melbourne’s best (and number 63 on the San Pellegrino world list).
Now all of this, of course, doesn’t make it the most affordable restaurant in town, but there are still ways to enjoy Attica without going for the full eight course menu at $175.
Perhaps the most inexpensive, and adventurous, way to do it is to book in for the regular Tuesday night “Chef’s Table” evenings, which gives you five courses at a much more pocket-pleasing $95.
Plus, it’s a way to experience chef and owner Ben Shrewy at his creative best – the Chef’s Table is all about the team trying new ideas with the most fresh seasonal produce to hand. It might be challenging at times, but it’s also wildly gratifying when they get it right. It’s certainly full of inspired ideas, the rough menu is written by Ben on Monday evening, then workshopped with the kitchen early on Tuesday. Generally it’s finalised by 3pm, and the front of house team is briefed by 6pm.
If it’s a really special occasion, you can take up matched wines for an extra $70 per person, and it’s well worth it for the quality of wines and care taken to match them to the unusual dishes on offer.
All of the dishes were thought-provoking, some were outstanding – and the brilliance starts with something as simple as the bread and condiments. It starts with house baked bread, but all the adulation was for the accompanying house-churned, uncultured butter (made from Jersey crème fraiche, thank you very much) with sea salt and the smoked olive oil emulsion. Full points for the never ending top of bread, butter and emulsion – plus you only had to finish a slice to have all three replaced.
The meal started with a light serving of Crystal Bay prawns accompanied with finger lime and wrapped in sorrel leaves. The prawns were dainty, the finger lime provided a great zing, the leaves themselves were pretty thick and a little confronting, but with a decent sweet wine or the perfectly matched sake it all came together.
The second dish was a revelation. Somewhat mysterious on first presentation, at the table the pretty assortment of frozen asparagus shards, society garlic flowers, goat’s curd and crunchy pistachios was covered with a combination of chilled cucumber and green tomato juice, with a hint of ginger and chilli – and it became the perfect summer dish. Seriously mindblowing, a perfect combination of flavours and textures, the crisp pistachios and brittle frozen asparagus, against the soft curd and pungent flowers.
The salad to follow featured matchsticks of white asparagus, shredded poached chicken, mounds of mud crab, bitey mustard greens and a simple chicken broth. An entirely subtle dish, with the slivers of mustard greens doing their bit to add a wasabi-like punch.
Next, thin slices of Stockyard-sourced F1 wagyu (the first cross between a black angus cow and wagyu cow) were oven roasted and sliced, the deep pink inside pairing beautifully with scarlet shavings of baby beetroot, and magenta quandong halves – I know, I had no idea what it was either, but it’s a native Australian fruit that they’ve pickled in red vinegar, and it’s as pretty as it is tastily tart. The finishing touch comes from leek ash – salty shavings of leek that have been chargrilled almost to the point of becoming charcoal – yum.
I didn’t hold out too much hope for an experimental dessert, but there was no better way to end the meal. Dessert was unforgettable – simply titled “Strawberry Ice”, it was made up of two different ice textures – a simple vanilla ice, covered with one made from chunky strawberry pulp. These sit over Meredith sheeps milk yoghurt that’s been studded with cherry tomatoes, peeled, and compressed in strawberry juice. Scattered over the lot is crunchy, sweet, caramelised white chocolate.
For a restaurant with such an esteemed reputation, Attica was distinctly lacking in pretension, the myriad of staff were friendly and decidedly unstuffy. Service was prompt but not rushed, and they even managed a birthday surprise for Mr Carte.
For an insight into the imagination of one of this country’s most creative and respected chefs, the Tuesday night Chef’s Tables at Attica can’t be beat. That said, they’re done for the year, with the remainder of this busy summer season reserved solely for 8 course diners, but it’s worth getting in now for next year and staking your place, the first available booking are for February.