Shannon Bennett serves insanely complex and theatrical degustations. Smashing liquid-nitrogen frozen herbs at altitude is one of the most dramatic dining experiences in town. Melbourne.
For $50/$70/$90, Ryan Flaherty dishes up 3/5/7 courses of molecular wizz-bangery. Get your serve of milk-poached cod with fragrant foams before they realise how much they could charge. Northcote.
French chef Nic Poleart is an artist, turning out flower-strewn dishes like sweetbreads: those creamy little organs, smoked, caramelised and nestled in a forest of foraged herbs and ’shrooms. Carlton.
Bistro Flor turns on the confit duck and gooey brie at a price-point you can’t question, with all the chocolate-hued woods and chalkboards you need to make believe you’re in Gay Paree. Carlton.
Rock star tapas in a soft-lit bodega, with the best Spanish vino. Expect to drop $4-$15 every time you open your mouth to rich, fatty slips of air-dried wagyu paired with poached egg and truffle foam. Melbourne.
On Mondays tapas cost $8 a plate, so get some ‘Barthelona’ charm for cheap. Sweet meatballs, crisp shelled arancini and a teetering mound of patatas bravas (the original spicy fries) will do it. Williamstown.
At chef Guy Grossi’s ristorante they charge your glass with a sacrificial drop from the bottle. The rituals are impressive, the room is lavishly decked out with tapestries, and your lobster ravioli entrée costs $48. Melbourne.
Meanwhile, downstairs, butler-like discretion gives way to a little Italian braggadocio, and the pumpkin tortellini topple with natural ease onto the plate. Slop your sauce onto the table at will! Melbourne.
Want to attend the Melbourne Food Awards?