TOP 10 FOOD ADVENTURES 2018

Happy 2019, readers! In a blink of an eye, 2018 went whizzing by, and it’s that time of year where I find myself reflecting on yet another action-packed year… and food adventure galore, of course! But I’ll get to that. Some of the biggest highlights included becoming a fur parent to our little pup Pepper, biting the bullet and signing up to+completing my first full marathon, and seeing a few first author publications come out of the formidable academic publishing pipeline a-ok, eventually. Travels beyond Melbourne took me to Uluru in our own sunburnt backyard, and further afield to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seattle, Vancouver and most recently, Bali. Which leads me to 2018’s best food adventures, some of which that took place in said countries. But there were also a handful of Melbourne newcomers, alongside oldies but goodies, that also landed quite the tasty impression. Read on to find out this year’s best 10.

NUMBER TEN: MATILDA 159 DOMAIN, SOUTH YARRA (VIC, AUS)

While I’m yet to head back to Scott Pickett’s latest addition to Melbourne’s dining sphere, the tasty preview I caught at the launch of Matilda 159 Domain and the 100% wood fired inspired menu was enough to set my taste buds on fire.

Blog post: http://www.theycallmemaggie.com/home/recap-matilda-159-domain-south-yarra

NUMBER NINE: LUI BAR, MELBOURNE CBD (VIC, AUS)

One of my biggest dining highlights to date took place almost five years ago at Shannon Bennett's Vue de Monde, ticking all the boxes when it came down to ambience, food and views. And while the Vue de Monde experience is not an every day experience (once every five years, perhaps?), it was nice to get a taste of the real deal with The Lui Counter Meal at Lui Bar.

Blog post: http://www.theycallmemaggie.com/home/review-lui-bar-melbourne-cbd

NUMBER EIGHT: TORISSONG, CARLTON (VIC, AUS)

Some of you may know that if I had to choose one favourite cuisine, it would be Japanese. Talk about perfection in simplicity. As it turns out, I’m also quite taken with Modern Japanese, as I discovered with new kid on the block Torissong. Japanese ingredients and influences are evident throughout the menu but often paired with other local/Western ingredients and/or cooking techniques that bring something more to the table. Camembert roti, anyone? Blog post coming soon.

Must order dishes: chicken katsu sando // camembert roti

NUMBER SEVEN: ASADO, SOUTHBANK (VIC, AUS)

My taste buds have been wowed by the likes of San Telmo and Pastuso previously, so it should have came as no surprise that Asado, from the same peeps, also delivered fireworks and the whole nine yards when it came to the impeccable flavours captured across its Modern Argentinian menu.

Must order dish: sweet corn & manchego empanadas // dulce de leche crème caramel flán

NUMBER SIX: TULIP BAR & RESTAURANT, GEELONG (VIC, AUS)

You know you’re in for a treat when you’re half way through a meal where the bar was set quite high early on, and the same bar was met/trumped throughout. This was our dining experience at Tulip Bar & Restaurant as we feasted our way through appetisers and main to our tummies’ content. We may have needed a slight nudge when it came to ordering dessert and thankfully we did because the absolute best was saved for last. Well worth the trek out to Geelong, and huzzah if you’re already out west.

Must order dish: Soft milk cake with organic cream, strawberries, raspberry jelly and caramelised pastry

Blog post: http://www.theycallmemaggie.com/home/review-tulip-geelong-victoria

NUMBER FIVE: SUPERNORMAL NATSU (POP UP) (VIC, AUS)

Earlier in the year, Supernormal popped up at The National Gallery of Victoria as part of their Triennial EXTRA exhibition. And while I admittedly wasn’t that taken by our dining experience at the original location, the menu at the Supernormal Natsu pop up had my taste buds singing all sorts of praises. Dishes like the creamy burrata with sesame flatbread cleverly embodied east-meets-west flavours and ingredients, which married together in 100% delicious fashion. Good news, Supernormal Natsu is popping up again in a few weeks’ time, and you can count me there!

Blog post: http://www.theycallmemaggie.com/home/recap-supernormal-natsu

NUMBER FOUR: ATLAS DINING, SOUTH YARRA (VIC, AUS)

Making quite the splash in Melbourne’s dining sphere, culinary whiz-chef Charlie Carrington takes diners through a journey of dishes inspired by his travels. Our dining adventure took our taste buds far away to Peru, demonstrating that there’s a whole lot more to Peruvian cuisine than just ceviche… and super delicious to boot. The next destination will be landing soon.

NUMBER THREE: TEATRO GASTROTEQUE, SEMINYAK (BALI, INDONESIA)

Our fine dining experience in Bali took on the form of the 10 course degustation at Michelin-starred Teatro Gastroteque. Dish after dish presented as artful masterpieces that also pleased our taste buds. The hot weather unfortunately did not make for great appetite building conditions and it was somewhat of a (tasty) struggle after course #5… I may have also paid for it greatly that evening and the entire next day but it was truly worth it. Blog post to come soon.

NUMBER TWO: BRAE, BIRREGURA (VIC, AUS)

For years and years, talks of trekking out to Birregura to visit the award-winning, and now three-hatted Brae whipped my taste buds into a state of excitement and anticipation. Said moment finally came when we visited the restaurant earlier in January and the bar of quality dining in 2018 was set super high. Beautiful plates of Modern Australian fare, created with sensationally fresh and seasonal produce, often plucked right from their surrounding gardens or sourced locally.

Favourite dish: parsnip and apple

Blog post: http://www.theycallmemaggie.com/home/2018/1/29/review-brae-birregura

NUMBER ONE: ODETTE (SINGAPORE)

The hubby and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary at Singapore’s Odette, which is perched high at number 28 on the list of the world’s best 100 restaurants. Deservingly so given that service, presentation and taste were all spectacularly executed. Our dining experience certainly trumped the age old first anniversary gift of paper… not to mention many of my other top dining experiences to date.

Blog post: http://www.theycallmemaggie.com/home/review-odette-singapore