First published on 30 Nov 2012. Updated on 6 Dec 2012.
It's the wagyu totin' soft bun that made Melbourne lose its mind over burgers. Fist sized, cheesy, well-sauced and with minimal salad – perfect.
Brooks of Melbourne
Thirty-five vegetables variously pickled, pureed, creamed and preened; it's the most exciting thing to happen to vegetarians in 2012.
Only Neil Perry could take the simple potato dumpling and make it a five-star affair. These dense, sweet pillows play off against tender, meaty hunks of octopus braised with olives.
Welcome to the woods. Pretty pickled 'shrooms and crunchy veg' dotted over thin leaves of rich raw venison with the sweet pop of sherry-jelly balls. Great stuff.
Twenty and Six Espresso
We like to think of this as the last supper of breakfasts. Mushrooms are roasted, poached in creme fraiche, pan-fried with chorizo and showered in pecorino cheese just to give your arteries one last good kicking.
There's a lot of taco action out there, but the mixed six at Chingon (packing grilled juicy prawns, pulled pork and pineapple, and black beans and 'slaw) are served up in a candlelit back alley next to a '64 Lincoln, and that makes 'em at least 20 percent more delicious.
As old school and English as getting the cane, with none of the sting - despite the name. Fresh nettles are blitzed into a leek and potato soup which washes up against a buttery fort of toasted brioche concealing an egg.
A satin smooth dish of custard infused with Sauternes (French dessert wine - tastes a bit like raisins) with a bitter-sweet burnt caramel kicker. Mark Best has been dishing this number up in Sydney for years and his Melbourne crew are doing his recipe justice.
Fancy Hanks BBQ
Finger lickin' smoky ribs and juicy pulled pork Southern USA-style. Somehow, the knowledge that your time with Fancy Hank is fleeting (it's a roving operation) makes this meat feast extra sweet.
Deep fried pickles. Tangy missiles captured in a crisp golden shell. Dip 'em in creamy ranch dressing and get about blessing America for bestowing this gift upon us.