Melbourne with Freya - A Culinary Experience for Mind, Body and Soul
There's something special about sitting down and sharing a meal - it can be an experience of all the senses if done well. I adore going out for lunch or dinner - the entire act thrills me, makes me happy and satiates my lust for sensual and culinary fulfilment. From carefully choosing my outfit and accessories while listening to my favourite playlist and singing along, my anticipation building on the way, to stepping into the restaurant by your side. Brimming with other guests, the sound of clinking wine glasses raised to toast, elated conversations, laughter, smiles and the exquisite smells floating through the room from the kitchen, fine dining is the ideal backdrop for our date to unfold or commence.
Here are some of my favourite Melbourne restaurants - in no particular order - I’d love to share with you.
Coda is, hands down, my favourite Melbourne restaurant. A modern Euro-Vitanamese restaurant nestled in Melbourne's culinary epicentre on Flinders Lane unfurls in a converted warehouse space. The incredibly creative menu is designed to share - small, medium and large plates to be enjoyed together. Exotic Asian flavours meet European dishes and explode on your tastebuds. Their sommelier has assembled an exciting wine list to go with the exceptional menu.
Aru is the perfect pick for detail-oriented wine lovers. The interior of the restaurant is lovingly crafted with wood and stone to create a wonderfully intimate environment for the big flavours of the decadent menu to unfold, which reflects the same close attention to detail. The abundant 400-strong international wine list is an incredible addition to the elaborate and pungent menu.
Concept and flavour. O.My offers an elevated menu crafted from garden to table and producing minimal waste. Dining in a rustic but chic location with a menu changing daily and with the seasons. The produce from the owner’s farm and artisan producers from around Victoria make the drive to the outskirts of Melbourne, Beaconsfield to be exact, well worthwhile for this full circle dining experience.
Flower Drum is one of Melbourne's oldest and most revered Chinese restaurants. Serving traditional and elegant Cantonese, the restaurant interior is opulent and bold. Sprawling red carpets, sculptural flower arrangements complete with white-clothed tables and formally clad waiters. It is an unique and unforgettable affair, the perfect location for a decadently romantic evening.
Embla is one of my Melbourne staples, a wonderful small heavenly place to escape the busy CBD. A stylish and modern wine bar exuding Nordic flair with small plates that keep our palates excited alongside its large selection of fine wines. The food is adventurous and fun, packed with flavour and irresistible.
Minamishima is an intimate sushi okamase experience tucked away in a Richmond backstreets bordering on the CBD. The twelve counter seats are the ideal place to watch and enjoy the artistry of the chefs preparing market fresh food - the meticulous knife work, the precision and the exquisite dishes served are not to be missed when visiting - or residing in - Melbourne.
The exposed brickwork, scaffolding, aluminium, and raw wood accents of Sunda project a rough and unrestrained energy that comes from something big and bold – just like the food carefully and artistically crafted by Khanh Nguyen. Sunda serves food from across South East Asia featuring indigenous Australian ingredients paired with fantastic wines to match.
Gimlet is a sleek and old timey cocktail bar with a lavish dining room. Smoky premium wood fired meat and seafood dominate the menu in union with European flavours. Caviar service if the mood strikes and a large cocktail menu for us to enjoy.
Attica is one of Melbourne's most iconic restaurants, offering an eclectic artful mix of boundary-pushing modern Australian cuisine that celebrates native produce from across the country. This is the perfect opportunity for us to embark on a rare culinary adventure together and celebrate a special occasion.
Sister restaurant to Coda, Tonka can proudly stand on its own. Intricate modern Indian cuisine just off Flinders Lane in a wonderfully renovated and now cosy warehouse space, Tonka wows with sophisticated and intense flavours as well as an award winning wine list. If you like Indian fare, this is the place to visit and experience it, reimagined and state of the art.
Where it all began - Movida Original is Australia’s number 1 Spanish restaurant where the obsession with tapas and share plates has created excellence. The celebration of Spanish food and drink, showcased by the fine Australian produce, at its best and original. Fresh, in house baked bread, ever changing specials and the devotion to quality make this yet another of my Melbourne regularly visited staples.
One of Melbourne’s finest - three levels of dining excellence: the restaurant, Chablis Bar, private dining rooms and the Chef’s Table. Kisumé combines the purity and integrity of Japanese cuisine with Australian sensibility to an unforgettable dining experience using the best local produce of land and sea. Discover a fusion of design, art and dining like no other with me.
Hopefully these restaurants will inspire you to take enjoying Melbourne to the next level.