Emilia reviews: Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters — ‘they did not miss a beat’
A sensory delight, this restaurant only opened last week but they did not miss a beat. It’s tucked away but right in the middle of the city overlooking the Yarra River — pair that with a glass of wine and some sublime food and you’ve got one of Melbourne’s new ‘it’ spots!
It can be a little tricky to find, so if you’re looking at the big screen at Fed Square, turn over your left shoulder and you’ll find Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters; an earthy, locally-sourced and incredibly sexy restaurant.
Despite only opening late last week, this place has already solidified itself as a destination on the foodie map to visit. Farmer’s Daughters has been creating buzz since they opened their doors in 2021 on Exhibition Street but I predict their (unassumingly large) new restaurant along the Yarra will truly become a part of the Melbourne landscape. Directly across the river from the Arts Centre, it’s the perfect spot to get a bite before a show or your next work lunch.
Farmer’s Daughters’ ethos is championing seasonal, local Victorian ingredients with chef Alejandro Saravia’s Peruvian flavours; they carry this ethos throughout their new restaurant, Victoria. Their entire menu is farm to table, they have a giant Victorian map decal on their back wall and they source Victorian, even down to the cutlery. Don’t miss the massive wine library filled with wine from all around Victoria!
I have a strong theory that you can tell a lot about a place from their bread and butter. Here it’s thick, generous slices, soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside and the butter is obviously homemade. I could almost end the review here and you’d know everything you needed to know about Victoria. I won’t tease though.
The cured meats from Oakwood were unbelievable, so flavoursome but balanced and the matching pickles were crunchy and bursting with colour.
And you have to try the pressed Bannockburn chicken with carrot relish and verjus, topped with crispy, sticky crumbs. Saravia has given the perfect variation of textures. Honestly, I know it’s only a starter, but I think this might have been my favourite meal of the night.
My second favourite dish was the pork neck from Western Plains. It had a subtle crunch on the outside and the dark beer sauce was rich without being overpowering. You’re probably seeing a common theme in dishes that excite me — they have a variation of textures and depth of flavours.
Special shoutout to the bone marrow and duck fat gravy with the smoked duck too, you can buy this to be a side on any of the dishes you chose though.
I can’t leave you without a dessert recommendation. Non-negotiable, you have to leave room for the floating island in chocolate custard and macadamia. Make sure you get a spoonful of all of it, particularly the crème brulee’d top (you can see my reaction in pictures).
Both wines I was recommended beautifully complemented the meal. I could’ve finished a bottle of the 2021 Denton Nebbiolo from the Yarra Valley, easily. But with the flavour-rich meal I can recommend choosing the 2019 Quealy ‘Campbell & Christine’ Pinot Noir from the Peninsula. I’ve already searched where I can buy them both — going straight in my basket!
From start to finish Victoria make sure you’re wowed. Starting with the view, they complement it with a great atmosphere, beautiful finishes, touches of Australian natives and an open kitchen. Victoria is an exercise in balance, vivacious flavours and superb service.