2015 has gotten off to a running start. We’re seeing casual hangouts get fancy, fine dining is making a comeback and novelty concepts are coming in thick and fast. Here’s a list of some of the most exciting restaurants of the year so far, so you can play catch up over the weekend.
Estelle by Scott Pickett (ESP)
With his new starring role in Channel 9’s The Hotplate, Scott Pickett’s career is going from the local spotlight to a national one. This hasn’t detracted from his meticulous attention to detail, though. From the floor to the knife handles, Pickett has been involved in every aspect of his new baby, the fine-dining restaurant that neighbours the more casual Estelle Bistro. The obsessive level of care is apparent in his seven-course degustation menu. Get in before the cult of celebrity takes hold of the booking system.
In our preliminary interview with Shaun Quade in February, he told us, “We definitely want to be a world-class restaurant.” For a group that has collectively worked at restaurants such as Le Chataeubriand, Bo Innovation, Biota, Quay, Vue de Monde and Royal Mail Hotel, it doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea. The degustation-only section of the venue will get you 15 courses for $140, plus another $140 for Sally Humble’s matched wine. This experience is all about trust – diners are only given a menu once their meal is finished. With so many frenetically creative types in the kitchen, the menu is unlikely to stay static for too long, although the cocoa-pod that bursts open, spilling petit fours on the table could certainly become a signature.
If you too have lost immeasurable hours at Section 8, Ferdyduke or The B.East, chances are you’ll take to Belleville, the newest venue by Maz Salt. Inspired by a shabby bar in Paris Salt visited 15 years ago, this restaurant/bar/cafe/live venue mash-up is in the middle of Melbourne’s Chinatown. Alongside the Asian-inspired menu, the star of the show here is Brazilian rotisserie chicken (expect to see up to 90 birds rotating at any one time).
Bridge Road is on the up. Following the openings of Mister Jennings, LadyBoy Dining and St Domenico within the past year, the latest notable destination is Anchovy, a modern South East Asian offering by Jia-Yen Lee and chef Thi Le. Here you’ll find light, clean and intelligent food in a minimalist and elegant dining space.
One of the most-authentic sushi experiences in the city is hiding in a non-descript residential Richmond backstreet. There are only 40 seats, and your host? Japanese sushi master, Koichi Minamishima. For $150, sit at the long bar and watch Minamishima, with calm concentration, prepare 15 courses before you. Opt to pair each course with truly outstanding sake to complete the luxurious experience.
The Fat Duck
The most exciting restaurant opening of 2015 is down the bottom of the list, only because if you don’t have tickets by now, you better start booking your plane tickets to Bray in Berkshire, UK. Heston swept us up in a media frenzy of excitement (and a little controversy), as he dropped his world-famous destination restaurant in Crown. He’s packing up on August 9 and leaving behind Dinner by Heston, to open in late October.
It might seem odd to follow the world’s most famous restaurant with a little ramen joint on Russell Street – but who is not excited by ramen you can get at 4am? It's not just novelty, either – each of the four styles of ramen comes with chargrilled, melt-in-your-mouth barbeque pork that will lure you back at all times of day (or night). Plus, you can charge your phone at the bar. Exciting, indeed.
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO:
Don't forget, our very own pop-up The Broadsheet Restaurant closes on August 2 after two months. Come down this weekend to 166 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy before you miss out.