IIt's a restaurant in Ripponlea, a suburb whose only other claim to fame is a strict observation of orthodox Judaism, yet it will take you a month to get a table.
It's Attica. And it's one of the best restaurants in the world.
But we can honestly say it's not a restaurant for everyone. Head chef Ben Shewry was a sustainability pioneer before it was a thing, and his intricate, story-filled dishes are sometimes more mind-blowingly interesting than conventionally delicious. You won't find foie gras on the menu, and a slow braised fillet of wallaby served with a rich spicy sauce of its own blood is the only red meat dish on the menu.
There's no high-low culture smashing or ACDC like you might find at Sydney top dog Momofuku Seiobo. There's less of the 'ta da!' theatrics Shannon Bennett goes nuts for at Vue De Monde.
In place of hunks of pork and tricks and truffles (which Shewry reckons are bullshit) maybe you'll start with walnut puree topped with impossibly thin shavings of pine mushrooms and a solitary cabbage flower, plucked daily from the kitchen garden at Ripponlea estate. It's served Thumbelina styles in the walnut half shell on a bed of dried leaves. Maybe there'll follow a mussel, in a thin, crisp translucent rice flour batter, and then an earthy shitake mushroom consommé picked up by clover and nasturtium leaves.
You'll potentially have heard about the famed snow crab dish (no longer a menu staple), delicate wisps of crab meat concealed beneath an avalanche of ethereally light horseradish powder and frozen coconut snow. But it's Shewry's ability to coax the very essence from leaves, legumes, nuts and seeds that makes him an international legend.
The room is just as understated and excellent as what's on the plates. It’s a muted palate of charcoal carpets, drapes and banquettes, punctuated only by deeply contrasted black and white landscape photographs and soft pools of light.
If you can spare the cash to do wine matching, you should. Sommelier Banjo Harris will likely be pouring you some natural wines from Victoria, and Spanish fino sherries, but perhaps it'll be sake? Who knows? The kid's wild like that, and the menu changes up regularly enough for him to cut a little loose – but rest assured, he won’t steer you wrong.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays you can do the smaller five-course menu for $125, while on the weekends it's the full eight-course menu only for $185. On Tuesdays, Shewry plays around with new dishes and you can score a relatively cheap four courses for $90.
However you can get there, just make sure you do.