Ask chef Adam Liaw what he remembers about his childhood skiing at Falls Creek, and frozen cheese is one of the first things that comes to mind. “We used to get hungry after skiing, so we’d order a hotdog from this little caravan at the bottom of Scott chairlift,” he says. “It was so cold the cheese would freeze. But I loved those hotdogs; it was all part of the Falls Creek experience.”
Today, the cuisine at Falls Creek is more elevated (as you’d expect at Victoria’s largest ski resort). Skiers and boarders have a truly international selection, from pan-Asian to alpine-European to Australian classics. For Liaw, eating well is a major element of the snow package. “Food is a really important part of why I travel, and you shouldn’t have to put up with bad food at the snow.”
But if you’ve got a craving for a hotdog, well, you’re in luck. A cute cafe called Dicky Knees has taken the place of the old caravan, with no frozen cheese in sight. “They do really great kransky hotdogs,” says Liaw, “so I can indulge that nostalgic memory of a hotdog at the snow.”
But there’s plenty more to indulge in – here are some of Liaw’s favourites.
“Huski is fun and casual, and everything just smacks you in the face with flavour,” says Liaw, who nominates the braised lamb ribs with Japanese barbeque sauce as a favourite (it also gets the thumbs up from Liaw’s nine-year-old son, Christopher). “I also love the Korean fried cauliflower with red dragon sauce. The food is perfectly balanced with Thai, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese influences.”
If you’re heading in with a group of six or more, you can also take advantage of their banquet menu, which features the restaurant’s most popular dishes.
Frying Pan Inn
This local pub is the heart and soul of Falls Creek, in the middle of the Village Bowl. It’s got pool tables, a vibrant atmosphere and a firelit patio where you can watch skiers flying down the slopes. It’s also the spot to watch the fireworks from 7pm every Thursday in August. “It looks and feels like a regular pub, but the food is genuinely excellent,” says Liaw. “Have a late ski, then cruise in for a knock-off drink, order dinner, and sit back and enjoy the fireworks.”
If you’re in a group, Liaw recommends the woodfired grill “feed the family” platter, which includes a 300-gram porterhouse steak with café de Paris butter, Cajun chicken, pork ribs, slaw, chips and curly corn ribs. There are also classic burgers, and several vegetarian bowls, if you’re looking for something on the healthier side.
Astra Falls Creek
“I was blown away by Astra lodge,” says Liaw. “You just wouldn’t expect this level at the snow.” This luxury lodge has taken the World Ski Awards gong for Australia’s best boutique ski hotel seven years in a row, thanks in no small part to its alpine-inspired fine diner (the plush rooms, indulgent day spa and grotto-like magnesium pool also help).
Inside, the restaurant has a hyperlocal focus, and it’s run by the same team behind Elm Dining in Bright, meaning the chef and staff are there all year round. “That consistency comes across in the food and the service, which is exceptional,” says Liaw.
For an entree, Liaw recommends the Jerusalem artichoke with celeriac, or the kangaroo tartare (also endorsed by young Christopher), while the pork belly is his pick of the mains. Despite its glamorous alpine-chic interior, Astra Lodge doesn’t take itself too seriously. “The kids can pop off and toast marshmallows in the fire whenever they want,” says Liaw. “It’s casual and welcoming for everyone.”
Located at the top of Halley’s Comet chairlift, Cloud 9 was recently renovated and boasts the best view in Fall Creek. It’s Liaw’s go-to spot when he needs a breather from skiing or boarding. “The sky terrace overlooks either the mountains or a sea of clouds, depending on the weather,” he says. “It’s an ever-changing view you never get sick of.”
Liaw says he and his wife, Asami, will often drop the kids at ski school (right next door), then sneak off to Cloud 9 for a coffee before hitting the slopes. The kitchen pumps out fresh pasta, a rotating soup of the day, curries, veggie bowls and woodfired roasts, while the fully licenced bar has local brews from Bright Brewery and Billsons.
“It’s the perfect spot to relax any time of the day,” says Liaw. “I have to mention their waffles on a stick, which are a real favourite with the kids. Good view, good coffee – what more could you want?”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Falls Creek Alpine Resort.