The worst thing about travel is the inevitable return to work. But mid-20s chef Charlie Carrington figured out a way to bring his holidays with him. Atlas, his restaurant in South Yarra, is like a culinary journal. It presents different cuisines Carrington encountered on an eight-month trip through 15 countries, cooking in some of the best kitchens in Antwerp, San Francisco and Mexico City.
Atlas’s cuisine changes every four months, and the menu changes weekly. It has covered Vietnam; the set menu was inspired by dishes from Sapa in the north. It served Wagyu beef tartare, which was finished at the table with the rich, aromatic fat skimmed off the top of a pho broth; mackerel with caramel sauce, daikon and carrots, and a wood-roasted cauliflower accompanied by South Australian clams, lemongrass and ginger. A research trip to Israel set Carrington up for his crack at Israeli cuisine.
Carrington’s time at Sydney’s Firedoor has been a big influence on Atlas. He’s fitted the kitchen with a wood-fired oven and custom-designed grill.
Sydney architects Belinda Pajkovic and Tamara Frangelli designed the space using leather banquettes, white birch timber and a four-metre-wide brass compass on the ceiling. Longitudinal lines criss-cross the venue, and new coordinates are added every time Atlas shifts cuisine.
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