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631 Church Street, Richmond Tel 03 9421 4599
Geoff Lindsay is a fifth-generation Aussie boy who learnt his trade
the hard way, but became seduced by all the different influences floating
around Melbourne's markets, shops and streets. So a night at the shimmering,
modern, sparely decorated Pearl could include fish head curry with
coconut rice, tiger prawn dumplings with dashi-warmed oysters or crisped
brains with pak chee farang, shaved pear, date and ginger salad, and
a school fete platter of chocolate hedgehog, lamingtons and coconut
ice, Australia's favourite sweets. The word is 'wow'. Expensive.
17 Market Lane, Melbourne Tel 03 9662 3655
Why go all the way to Australia just to eat in a Cantonese restaurant,
you ask? Because this is such refined, sophisticated Cantonese dining
it will save you from having to stopover in Hong Kong. I bow to Gilbert
Lau, the owner of the Flower Drum, for his never-ending raising of
the bar. The wine list is extraordinary, the service sleek, the food
just fabulous. Don't try to order from the menu but consult staff
for manna from heaven such as Cantonese roasted duck, steamed fish,
and delicate mange-tout dumplings. Bliss. Expensive.
Ezard at Adelphi
Adelphi Hotel, 187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne Tel 03 9639 6811
Teage Ezard won't cook boring food. He just won't. His is adventurous,
multi-influenced cooking, ensconced in a smart designer basement in
downtown Melbourne that attracts a good-looking foodie crowd. Typical
food? Try the shaved rock sugar and Sichuan pepper-cured beef salad
with rice noodles, peanut brittle and chilli candy. See what I mean?
Cafe Di Stasio
31 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda Tel 03 9525 3999
A long-time favourite of mine, wedged into streetwise, beachside St
Kilda. Di Stasio is a local institution, built on Melbourne's great
heritage of Italian restaurants. The food is deceptively simple and
long-flavoured, the mood is artistic, local and loud. Great roast
duckling with spaetzle, beautiful pasta, terrific wine. Expensive.
Donovans, St Kilda.
Dining Room 211, Fitzroy.
France-Soir, South Yarra.
Grossi Florentino, City.
Caffe e Cucina, South Yarra.