First published on 2 Apr 2012. Updated on 24 Apr 2012.
It's how the industry works. Chefs follow their peers, knowledge is exchanged, new concepts are born over someone's inspirational take on a classic. It's a competitive industry, but one that thrives on mutual admiration and support. And so it is that when we look for the up and coming trends, we ask our friends from the kitchens. Here's where a number of Melbourne's chefs go to restore their energy and be inspired.
Pei Modern has every knife slinger in town from the Chin Chinners to dessert queen Philippa Sibley raving about Mark Best’s potatoes. Which is no surprise - Best is one of Australia's leading chefs and breaks ground with his dishes like a jackhammer gone rogue. It' a far simpler offering at Pei than at Marque, but one worth a look in nonetheless.
Rose Diner chef Stephen Drake says head to the Smith (213 High Street, Prahran). "I like to graze down the left hand side of the menu - for charcuterie, croquettes and G&Ts" he tells us, which makes sense, since he's a well known fan of all things Country Women's Association, and their meat and pickles are on the money here.
Union Dining’s Nicky Riemer does Tuesdays at Ocha (3 Church St, Hawthorn) for sushi and house made soba noodles, and Lupino (41 Little Collins St) for Campari and gorgonzola gnocchi action.
EDV chef Katie Marron gets hot for Spanish tapas at the Aylesbury Rooftop (103 Lonsdale St, Melbourne) while New York chef David Chang digs the spice at Dainty Sichuan (176 Toorak Rd, South Yarra).
Cutler & Co-Cumulus-Golden Fields man Andrew McConnell has a food crush on Ben Shewry’s delicate story-filled dishes at Attica (74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea). "Ben has such a great understanding of balance and texture," says McConnell – elements echoed loudly in his own style.
The Chin Chin crew are giving “mad love” to all things Huxtable (131 Smith St, Fitzroy) Huxtaburger (Opposite) and the Estelle (243 High St, Northcote) where Ryan Flaherty provides fine-dining-party-times.
Get in while the getting's good.