Food / Wellbeing

An affair to remember: we’re serving you 10 of the best fine-dining experiences in Melbourne

We'll be the first to admit that fine dining can be a daunting experience. Immediately the stakes are raised when you consider the price of entry. This is only heightened by the hours one must dedicate to the whole production. But any misgivings are quickly tempered by the drop of the first dish. Fine dining, at its best and with the right people is a joyful thing. It's a celebration of food, of place, of the seasons, even. And while our funds (or lack thereof) may deem it an experience worthy only of special occasions, these are the places in Melbourne that will turn it up for you every, single, time.

So for special occasions and everything in between, here are 10 of the best fine-dining experiences in (and just outside the periphery of) Melbourne.




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While not exactly located in Melbourne, it would be remiss of us to skirt over Brae in a list about fine-dining. Just an hour and forty minutes outside of the capital city, Brae sits is an unassuming country cottage on a back road in Birregurra. But don't be fooled by the small town charm, Dan Hunter is dishing up sustainable, world class fare that is consistently recognised in the World's Best 50 restaurants. How does Brae manage it? Well, Brae has established a keen sense of place and it translates on the plate. The set menu shines with seasonal produce grown on the restaurants organic farm. Think red centre limes, bulbous globe artichokes and Ethiopian kale.




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When it comes to Attica, all we can say is believe the hype. Perhaps one of the best fine-dining experiences in Australia, let alone Melbourne. Owner, Ben Shewry has managed what so many others have failed to do and distilled the very essence of Australiana into his offering. What makes Attica's food so worthy is that First Nations Australians are consulted throughout the whole process of procuring native ingredients. Take witchetty grubs for example, presented to the table solo and wriggly before being fried and dusted in finger lime salt, they're hand-harvested by people of the Wamba Wamba Nation near Deniliquin - the custodians of this quintessential native ingredient. Other earthly delights include jammy emu liver pâté, delicate pearl meat and a rack of glazed crocodile ribs. It is an experience in every sense of the word and one not be missed the next time you're considering the fine-dining route.


Flower Drum


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When the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic hit Melbourne, it decimated Chinatown with many eateries forces to close indefinitely. A collective sigh of relief came when Flower Drum was among the ranks of the restaurants still standing. It's the unofficial darling of Melbourne's Chinatown and for good reason. It's an institution, no really, Flower Drum has been serving faultless Cantonese cuisine for 45 years, during which it has managed to secure itself at least one hat on the Good Food Guide, every awards season. Head to Flower Drum for unparalleled silver service, the best Peking duck and a heaping bout of secondhand nostalgia.


Carlton Wine Room

Behind the relaxed and sun-drenched exterior of Carlton Wine Room is a kitchen that is as serious as a heart attack. You have to be if you're going to handle unforgiving honeycomb tripe. However, one should not confuse serious with fussy. At this bistro and bar bundle the focus is on comfort food; namely Caesar salad that's been tarted up with salty lardons, parmesan cream and cured egg yolk and rum baba that's drunk more than it's fair share of sugarcane champagne. Pair this with a wine list long with natural producers and deft service, and well, you've struck the "fine-dining" trifecta.


Vue De Monde


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Atop the Rialto, with only the clouds for companions is Melbourne's iconic Vue de Monde. The brief here is luxury, and boy do they deliver. Champagne is struck open with a sabre, slivers of black truffle completely engulf plates of food upon your request, Bailer shells are local stand ins for abalone and there's even a vending machine sending out bottles of Dom Perignon. Try not to flinch when you hear that the buy-in-price is a $310 a head, which would normally feel astronomical except you've come this far (read: high) you might has well go the whole way. In a world where little is guaranteed, at least you can soar to the top of the Rialto and know that there awaits a decadent dining-experience, if you so choose it.




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It's a circular economy at the Bertoncello brothers' love child O.My in Beaconsfield. Initially turning heads back in 2013 for their cohesive farm-to-table approach, Blayne and Chayse have gone further to extend this ethos. Nearby O.My sits their farm - a haven of garden beds, fruit trees, a berry patch and even beehives - where all the fruit and vegetables for the restaurant are carefully tended to. True to their stance against waste, what's not used fresh is preserved or incorporated into the dining experience in a myriad of creative ways. There's only one route here and it's the seasonal menu which changes daily. Although, just because O.My orbits around the vegetable realm, don't expect to leave here still hungry, expect anywhere from 12 to 25 dishes slung your way. You might want to unbutton those trousers, stat.




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There are a trio of three-hatted restaurants on this list and Minamishima is one of them. A sparkling gem tucked away in Richmond, Minamishima is eponymously named after its' esteemed Chef Koichi. Fair warning, in order to secure yourself a seat at the fabled bench top for omakase, you're going to need to whittle down your company to just one other person. It's a dog eat dog world out there after all. But once you're perched on one of the limited stools, you'll get to witness Koichi's precision and mastery at work with a neat lineup of fifteen dishes, where gloriously fatty tuna belly is lightly torched, and marron and scampi represent the salty bounty Australia's ocean has to offer.


Cutler and Co.


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No fine-dining list where Melbourne is concerned would be complete without any one of Andrew McConnell's influential restaurants. Our pick is Cutler & Co. and it's helmed by some of the hospitality industries' most decorated professionals. Turn your attention to the set menu and you have the option of three courses or dishes as selected by the chef - it's fine-dining set at your own pace. Which is a good thing since you're going to want to savour that the dry-aged O'Connor rib-eye one tender strip at a time.



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Live, laugh, love Anchovy, we say! And not just us here at RUSSH, but it's a sentiment echoed among Australian chefs and hospitality stalwarts as well. Why? Anchovy chef and co-owner Thi Le has captured the attention of our stomachs with her all-guns-blazing Vietnamese fare. Hailing from Doonside in Western Sydney, Le opened Anchovy at age 30 with a small budget, a wealth of experience and the chutzpah to give it a crack. On any given day you can find barbecued baby goat rib, mud crab and suckling pig on the ever-evolving set menu. Although, in lockdown we've had to content ourselves with a mouthwatering selection of banh mi's - it's a hard job, but somebody has to do it.



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At Embla you get to steer the ship. Of course you can strap in for a long evening, but if your bank account and stomach cannot handle being pumped for four hours with a ceaseless conveyor belt of food, then there's always the bar. In fact, we recommend it. Embla's menu orbits around its' wood-fired oven, which is best seen in action on a bar stool - if your derriere can handle it. Bring a first date here and share a handful of Embla's smoke-tinged dishes - rainbow trout, fatty globs of steak tartare, pork terrine - and a bottle of William Downie's Pinot Noir. Pip pip.

Looking to sink your teeth into some of the best fine-dining experiences in Sydney? As always, we've got you covered.

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