4% of the top 100 restaurants isn’t all that many in the scheme of things – but considering a night out at any of these restaurants (especially in Europe and America) can cost $1000AUD, it’s not too shabby.
Here’s our thoughts on the ones that we have been fortunate enough to dine at.
Number 15: Le Bernardin
We went here for dinner in 2008 (was it really that long ago!?). It specialises in seafood, and has held 3 Michelin Stars since 2005.
The dining room, for some reason, reminds me of being in a big old wooden fishing boat – which makes sense given the seafood bent. One thing that amused us was the somelliers – they switfly walk around – almost gangster like – with their tasting cup dangling on a big chain around their necks like bling.
An absolutely sublime dish we had here as part of the Chef’s Tasting Menu, and one of my favourite meals of all time, was “Escolar (White Tuna) Poached in Extra Virgin Olive Oil”. The “Seared Blue Fin; Parmesan Crisp and Sun-Dried Tomato; Nicoise puree, black olive oil, micro basil” was also to die for.
As good as the tasting menu was, it really would have been nice to have some meat in there to break up the 6 courses of seafood, as it probably would have highlighted just how damn good the seafood was.
Another blogger has posted images and a writeup of our entire dinner here (we must have gone at a similar time).
Number 27: Quay
This is some of the most beautiful looking food you will ever eat. Chef Peter Gilmore really has an eye for design – it makes us wonder if he had a background in art before becoming a chef.
Quay has won the Restaurant of the Year in Gourmet Traveller and the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide for the past two years, and it’s easy to see why.
The dining room is quite modern – very Sydney – and has amazing views of either the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or the Opera House, depending on which side of the restaurant you sit in.
We had four courses here – the “Crisp confit of pig belly, green lipped abalone and cuttlefish, handmade silken tofu” was outstanding – as was my dessert, which I think is the best dessert of all time – “Eight texture chocolate cake featuring Amedei Chocolate”. I think Ritsy liked the “Gentle braise of sea scallops, pearl oyster,
rock lobster, lettuce hearts, cucumbers, lobster velvet, oyster cream, pea flowers” the best.
Number 52: Jean Georges
Like Le Bernardin, Jean Georges has held 3 Michelin Stars since the inception of the Michelin Guide NYC. We had lunch here, also in 2008, and quite frankly we were blown away. We thought the food here was better than Le Bernardin, and the value for the lunch menu was outstanding.
It was $29 USD for 3 courses, to which you can add on extra dishes at a very reasonable $12 USD per dish. You also get complimentary appetisers and petit fours, which included macaroons, chocolates, and some wonderful house made marshmallows that were freshly cut at your table.
The dining room was a major highlight here – it was bright and airy, full of natural sunlight, something we didn’t expect being in the ground floor of the Trump International Hotel & Tower. They don’t squash you in either – although the dining room was full, we were seated on a table capable of sitting four people, next to each other on a long, comfortable bench chair.
My standout dish was the “Foie Gras Brulee, Spiced Fig Jam, Toasted Brioche” – I have never tasted Foie Gras done better than this, and I have had it at so many restaurants in Australia.
There was only one dish that didn’t really hit the mark – “Parmesan crusted confit leg of chicken, white asparagus, basil and lemon butter” – it was just a bit bland for my tastes.
Ritsy loved her “Prawn Dumplings with Citrus Butter Sauce”!
Number 73: Attica
Attica is, in my opinion, the second best restaurant in Melbourne, behind Jacques Reymond. It’s actually quite similar to Quay, as they both like to use heirloom vegetables and obscure edible plants – although they have more of a focus on molecular gastronomy. The dining room isn’t the most beautiful around, but the tables are nicely spaced and the atmosphere is good.
We went here for a Tuesday Night Chef’s Table, which was great value at $75 for 5 courses. A bigger bonus was that the Chablis we ordered ($80) was not available, so they upgraded us to the other Domain Christian Moreau on the menu, which was $160, for free.
My highlight of the night was the “bbq beef brisket”, which were cooked overnight in a smokey Southern America style rub – it literally fell apart in your mouth.
What’s my favorite out of the above four? Probably Jean Georges. I’m just glad the hugely overrated Vue de Monde didn’t get a mention.