Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters
Peruvian-born chef Alejandro Saravia (ex-Pastuso) created one of Melbourne’s most impressive restaurants in Farmer’s Daughters, a love letter to the abundant produce of Gippsland. With Victoria, he’s taken the concept one step further, showcasing the best of the state's food, drink and art in a sprawling riverside venue within Federation Square’s Yarra Building.
As you enter the dining room, you’ll notice a wall lit with a projection of a topographic map of the state's regions, and another featuring locally made sculptures. Move through the restaurant to find an interactive table – hand-carved from a single piece of reclaimed eucalyptus – where you can touch and smell the Victorian ingredients the kitchen is featuring at any given time.
Across from it is an open kitchen surrounded by a handful of bar seats – perhaps the best seats in the house – for those wanting to get a front-row view of all the woodfire and charcoal-grilling action.
A meal here begins with oversized, pull-apart sourdough loaves by Cobb Lane (with Caldermeade Farm cultured butter), followed by snacks that might include an Otway Gold potato rosti with cured Bass Strait scallop and bacon avocado.
But the main event, undoubtedly, is the meats. Think burly 800-gram dry-aged O’Connor rib eye served sliced with rocoto-chilli salsa, and a crispy-skinned Milla’s smoked half-duck.
In the lulls between courses, you might spot an entirely glass-walled room at the back of the restaurant: the 3000-bottle Victorian “wine library”. It sounds (and looks) fancy, but it’s by no means off-limits. Here you’ll find private local vintages and off-menu drops only accessible through Saravia’s connections, plus winemaker-hosted masterclasses.
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