Bonito, macadamia milk, parsley oil, Japanese turnip, jalapeno from Lumi Bar and Dining


If you happen to follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram you may be aware that on Saturday May 7th I finally fulfilled my long term quest and dined at my 100th and final Gourmet Traveller Top 100 restaurant on the 2016 list.  So, I thought it was timely to pull together a list of my own favourites based on the ones I’ve dined at over the last two to three years.  I say that because some of the big guns, e.g. Quay, Tetsuya’s, Attica, I haven’t been to for quite some time, so I thought I should choose from my more recent experiences – and here are my picks, in order:

  1. ROCKPOOL 1989 (Sydney) – Before I went to Rockpool to celebrate the completion of my quest, Lume in South Melbourne was sitting pretty in the number one position. I have to say, it’s pretty clear to me now as to why this original flagship restaurant is currently ranked number one in Australia on the Gourmet Traveller list. It’s class and perfection from the moment you walk in – the ambience, the service, the food, the wines and even the matched juice concoctions. A truly fantastic dining experience.
  2. LUME (South Melbourne) – I loved this place. It’s got everything – quality, presentation, service, theatre and that added element of surprise where things are not always as they seem.
  3. BRAE (Birregurra, regional Victoria) – This is regional dining at its best and the staff were incredibly knowledgeable. They were able to answer every question I threw at them, knowing each and every ingredient that made up a dish to exactly how each of the elements on the plate was prepared.
  4. ORANA (Adelaide) – Australian native ingredients brought to you by mastermind chef Jock Zonfrillo. It’s an experience so different to anything else – eating things you’ve never heard of, let alone tried before.
  5. LUMI (Sydney) – In a nutshell, sensational food. A mix between modern Italian, modern Australian and a bit of Japanese, with rich flavours and textures – a true journey of delight where the food not only looks beautiful, it totally delivers on taste and tantalises the palate.
  6. FIREDOOR (Sydney) – This place is hot, hot, HOT and not just because all of their food is cooked over hot wood charcoal or in the flaming furnace. They use the coals from different woods to cook different ingredients. I love the concept. I love the vibe, and oh, that steak!
  7. FLEET (Brunswick Heads) – Tucked away in Brunswick Heads, I just love what these guys are doing. Such great food at such a reasonable price, and food that’s a bit different. It’s a tiny place, so much so you feel like you’re at a dinner party and the hosts (Astrid, Rob and chef Josh) are your best friends.
  8. CHO CHO SAN (Sydney) – Serving food that looks beautiful, that’s fresh, tasty and relatively simple, this place is one I haven’t been able to forget.
  9. MINAMISHIMA (Melbourne) – An absolutely unforgettable sushi experience. Refined and serene where each and every individual piece of sushi is presented to you so you can admire it and pay your respects before you eat it.
  10. AFRICOLA (Adelaide) – I’ve eaten here a lot! It’s colourful and quirky and it’s serving up South African-based food that I haven’t found anywhere else in Australia. I say YEBO!

Because it was sooooo ridiculously difficult to narrow down to the Top 10, here are others that I would HIGHLY recommend and certainly deserve honourable mentions…

  • Provenance (Beechworth, Victoria)
  • O.My (Beaconsfield, Victoria)
  • Moon Park (Redfern, Sydney)
  • Lake House (Daylesford)
  • The Town Mouse (Carlton, Melbourne)

What now? Does my life no longer have meaning?  Well, after finally getting to 100 after so many years, I can’t help but feel a little ‘Post Top 100 depression’… but, there is hope… in August the new list will come out and my guess is that I’ll need to do between 15-20 new restaurants to keep my 2017 tally at 100.

Stay tuned for my upcoming post on my Top 10 most memorable dishes!



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