12-Micron by executive chef Justin Wise is an immense, Australian-inspired, kind-of-fine-dining restaurant and a dessert bar run by Melbourne pastry wizard Darren Purchese.
Wise has made sure every item and idea in the restaurant reflects Australia in some way. The distinct colour palette is based on a gum leaf.
The flavours are uncomplicated. There is a native-herb-spiced, paperbark-roasted seasonal vegetables served with goat’s curd; a classic lobster omelette; a trio of pepper berry-sauce steaks; and rotisserie-roasted half ducks and chickens served with fat-roasted potatoes and gravy.
Lyndsey Carr’s (Kensington Street Social) wine list is dominated by Australian producers and the cocktail offering even more so. The Smoking Chaplin has Plymouth sloe gin, apricot brandy, lime and rosella jam. And a sour Riberry Lily Tea has Rebellion Bay spiced rum, Orgeat (an almond syrup with flower water), Spicy Chilli Cinnamon Vedrenne, lime and riberry confit (a native berry).
12-Micron’s 64-seat dessert bar is like a separate venue – there’s a different menu and it has its own feel (all the seats are at the bar, so patrons can see the chefs working).
They serve a coconut, passionfruit and mint sort-of trifle, which is layered in a bowl so every component can be tasted in each mouthful. Another highlight is a sphere of chocolate with a liquid-orange sauce at its core, a tonka-bean ice-cream and a side of salted caramel under crumble.
Each of the 12 desserts is available individually at the bar or in the restaurant, but if you want to get the full three-, five- or seven-course degustation, that’s offered at the bar only.