This article was provided by The Expat Hub, the number one online stop for expatriates looking for advice, support and information.
For centuries nations like France and Italy have been getting all the glory when it comes to innovation in the kitchen and daring in the dining room, while countries like Australia have been typecast as producers of limited varieties of foods (shrimp on the barbie anyone?)
But one restaurant revolution later and Australia has well and truly made its mark on the culinary map.
In recent years Australia has developed a reputation as a nation of bold flavours and high quality produce and is recognised for developing its own Antipodean cuisine whilst incorporating culinary styles from across the globe.
Although the country boasts a huge amount of fantastic eateries for foodie expats to enjoy, this is our pick of five of the best restaurants Down Under!
Red Spice Road, Melbourne
Red Spice Road provides diners with an authentic South-East Asian dining experience. Customers are encouraged to eat communally, in the style of Asian familial and social gatherings. With shared dishes, a comfortable atmosphere and a casualness you don’t expect to come with fine dining, there’s a real sense of community about Red Spice. Although all the restaurants dishes are fresh, flavoursome and beautifully presented the big draw of Red Spice Road is the banquet menu. The huge array of dishes on offer draw from traditional Asian flavours and techniques but often feature an unusual twist, like the Burmese Split Pea Fritters with Spice Tamarind Dipping Sauce. Must try: Lychee Jam Doughnuts with Cinnamon Ice-Cream.
Quay, Sydney, New South Wales
The 3 Hat and 3 Star rated Quay restaurant boasts some of the most incredible views Sydney has to offer. Positioned in the dress circle of the harbour, Quay looks out over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The head chef of this internationally acclaimed restaurant is culinary heavyweight Peter Gilmore. Thanks to Gilmore’s innovative exploration of nature and texture (and his use of rare ingredients) Quay scooped Number 29 on 2012’s World’s Best Restaurant list – making it the highest ranked Australian restaurant. For three consecutive years Quay has also been voted The Best Restaurant in Australasia. Must try: Hapuka poached in crème fraiche and served with Tasmanian pink flesh potatoes, tender almonds and scorched beet leaves.
Although billed as a wine bar (and a damn good wine bar at that) Garagistes is also a restaurant which serves fantastic food. The menu changes daily to ensure the produce is at its freshest and that the dishes compliment the extensive selection of natural wines. Seasonal and locally foraged ingredients are always used and where possible every part of the cooking process (from smoking and curing to pickling) is done in house. The big emphasis of Garagistes is on communal dining with progressive meals and sharing dishes. As the menu changes so frequently it isn’t extensive (usually about ten savoury meals and two sweet) but the quality is superb and you’re guaranteed delicious, surprising taste sensations. Must try: Smoked wallaby tartar with native pepper, hazelnuts, cocoa nibs and chickweed.
Within a heritage-listed building Tetsuya’s dishes up plate after elegant plate of Japanese/Australian fusion cooking. In the kitchen the Japanese philosophy of natural, seasonal, flavours is combined with classical French technique to create really light and unique dishes. Tetsuya’s offers a ten-plate degustation menu which includes courses like sashimi of kingfish, salad of big eye tuna with daikon and braised oxtail with sea cucumber. To add to the experience the three main dining areas are filled with eclectic examples of fine art and ceramics and look out on to an exceptional Japanese garden. The restaurant also has an on-site test kitchen so experimentation and dish development is always ongoing. Must try: Yuzu, blood orange and black pepper sorbet.
Cumulus Inc., Melbourne
Cumulus is based in a turn-of-the century rag-trade building in Finders Lane – Melbourne’s famed fashion and art district. Since 2008 Cumulus has been providing locals with an inspiring place to interact as well as a place to get top of the range food for every meal of the day. Andrew McConnell is the man behind an exciting range of dishes including the unusual breakfast offering Shakshouka (baked eggs with shanklish and roasted peppers) and the decedent dinner dish wagyu bresaola with artichoke and truffle cream. Cumulus also has an extensive wine list, caters for private and corporate functions and has been listed in the Age Good Food Guide for three consecutive years. Must try: Saffron spiced cauliflower, golden raisins, pine nuts and curd.
Have you tried any of these restaurants? What are your favorite restaurants down under?