At South Yarra’s Atlas Dining, head chef Charlie Carrington changes his menu every four months to reflect the flavours, smells and textures of a different country’s cuisine. Since the restaurant’s opening in 2016, Carrington’s menus have showcased the cuisines of Vietnam, Israel, Korea, Mexico and Peru.
Now Carrington has announced the next destination on his culinary journey will be the birthplace of gastronomy, France.
“Coming into the colder months I wanted to cook comforting food for our guests. French cuisine has so much history and I absolutely cannot wait to learn more,” Carrington tells Broadsheet via email.
Traditionally French cooking has been held in high regard, with its techniques considered the cornerstone of fine, restaurant cooking.
“The thing that excites me most about French cuisine is I feel people in Melbourne are really knowledgeable about the techniques and flavours. This makes the challenge even greater and more exciting when we are creating the dishes for the menu. Also being able to use butter by the handful [is exciting],” says Carrington.
Carrington will be taking influence from the “Bistronomy” movement that has swept through Paris in the last few years. The movement sees young chefs serving the kinds of experimental dishes usually found in fine-diners, but this time in an informal setting and at affordable prices.
“The movement is paired back cuisine that’s flavour forward and creative, this is where Atlas really shines,” says Carrington.
Although the menu is still being finessed, guests can expect takes on classic dishes like French onion soup, bread and butter and a plated Delice de Bourgogne cheese course.
“I have to keep some secrets but our partner farm has been planning this menu from November last year,” says Carrington.
Famed Glacé pastry chef Christy Tania will be taking care of the sweets. The first dessert planned is Tania’s take on rum baba, a small yeast cake saturated in a rum-based syrup and served with pastry cream.
Guests at Atlas Dining choose between four or seven course set menus, with optional wine matching. For the first time, the restaurant will also be opening for lunch on Saturdays. Only the four-course option will be available for the daytime sitting.
“We want to create a relaxed, fun and boozy lunch … it’s a great feeling once you have established yourself and the demand is there.”
Atlas Dining’s French inspired menu will run from May 15 to September 15.
Additional reporting by Emma Bendall.