Matt Preston’s top 6 Melbourne hot spots
Melbourne is an epicurean delight, so the problem isn’t finding recommendations, but rather in finding your own personal favourite.
Are your interests in a particular cuisine, style of cooking, fine dining, cheap eats or more a quest for laneway bars and restaurants or hard-to-find bars? Perhaps it is all about the crusade for the perfect coffee? Melbourne has whatever you want, but you’d need a year and an endless appetite to merely scratch the culinary surface.
Sometimes you simply have to call in an expert. And Matt Preston is certainly that. The affable, cravat-wearing MasterChef Australia judge has boundless enthusiasm for good food and a refreshing willingness to share his knowledge.
Our question was vague – asking him simply where he’d nominate as his top three small Melbourne bars and his three favourite Melbourne restaurants. We were hoping his list would move beyond the well-known award winners. Of course, it did, delivering a list I’ll certainly be carrying when next in Melbourne.
Preston’s favourite bars
“Here are three wine bars where I recommend you go to eat and drink – thus answering your two requests with one journalistic stone.” The descriptions are Preston’s.
1. Marion Wine Bar
This wine bar, next door to its bigger sister Cutler and Co, has a fine list and a well-priced menu of delicious small plates such as venison tartare or asparagus with Comte cheese. Close tables means it can be noisy but also much fun.
Find it at: 53 Gertrude St, Fitzroy (on the corner of Deadmans Lane).
2. Bar Liberty
Bar Liberty is another great example of the modern wine bar with supremely tasty snacks such as their crispy chicken sandwich (the famous GLT) and, with sommelier legend Banjo Harris Plane looking after the drinks, expect interesting grape varietals and some surprising beer suggestions.
Find it at: 234 Johnston St, Fitzroy.
Embla is one of the best places to eat and drink in an interesting way. The bar offers casual high tables and dishes from the wood-fired oven such as the famous creamed corn or whiting with burnt butter.
Find it at: 122 Russell St, Melbourne.
Preston’s favourite restaurants
“I've recently had great meals at the following restaurants,” says Preston.
Lûmé offers interesting and thoughtful cooking from Mr Quade and his team that stretches the mind without sacrificing pure deliciousness. Real skill with non-alcoholic cocktails too.
Find it at: 226 Coventry St, South Melbourne. Note that it’s closed from July 2, 2017 to reopen on August 4.
Brilliant, inspired modern cooking and a calm atmosphere at this Armadale restaurant that’s rapidly jostling for the title of Melbourne's best.
Find it at: 5/1121 High St, Armadale.
6. Atlas Dining
Charlie Carrington is a young chef challenging restaurant norms by totally shifting the geographic focus of his set menu every few months. Israel and Korea have recently been destinations for his inspiration.
Find it at: 133 Commercial Road, Prahran.
Written by David McGonigal. Republished with permission of Wyza.
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