6 restaurants that prove Australia is a gourmand’s paradise
If your life motto is “will travel for food”, a trip Down Under will not disappoint.
Australia’s quality produce is renowned the world over, but that’s just one of the many reasons why its restaurant scene is often raved about. Its culturally diverse population and an increased awareness of bush tucker – food or ingredients native to Australia – are also responsible for it being celebrated as a choice destination for foodies.
As part of its new Come and Say G’day campaign, Australia is inviting travellers from far and wide to savour all that the country has to offer. Discover a clutch of establishments serving creative nosh that pushes the boundaries of what modern Australian cuisine can be.
ABORIGINAL BUSH TRADERS (DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY)
Aboriginal Bush Traders in Darwin pays homage to traditional bush tucker while giving it a refreshing modern twist. Diners can look forward to flavourful seasonal dishes with ingredients sourced from the region. Expect the likes of zesty zucchini and corn slices with sea celery pickle; punchy bush-spiced chickpea salad; and scrumptious pavlova for dessert.
Before you leave, visit the gallery and retail space to purchase carvings, weavings and paintings by independent Indigenous artists, which make for unique souvenirs.
PETERMEN (SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES)
Chef Josh Niland – a pioneer in whole-fish cookery and the first Aussie to win the prestigious James Beard Book of the Year award – has expanded his seafood empire with Petermen, a 60-seater restaurant on Sydney’s Lower North Shore that opened its doors in February this year.
Here, Niland turns his focus to local growers and producers, which includes sourcing from fishermen who uphold sustainable practices. Guests can feast on beautifully plated dishes in a contemporary-chic dining room decorated with original paintings by lauded Australian artist Ken Done.
For mains, sample a Coffs Harbour line-caught hapuka green curry paired with flowering red bok choy, fragrant herb salad and native ginger Koshihikari rice; or the yellowfin tuna served with shoestring fries, mushrooms and native greens. For dessert, it’s hard to go wrong with the decadent milk cake with coconut and figs.
BLUE EYES BAR & LOUNGE (CANBERRA, AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY)
Blue Eyes Bar & Lounge is an inviting speakeasy offering a dash of old Hollywood in the heart of Canberra. The glitzy, intimate space is decked out in sparkly chandeliers, cosy booth seating and velvet curtains, and is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink or a nightcap to see out the evening.
Relax and sip on signature cocktails – try the Hollywood 75 (gin, chamomile agave, lemon juice and Prosecco), Blind Tiger (tequila, Aperol, homemade ginger syrup and fennel) or Blue Eyed Girl (sake, gin, yuzu purée and red sugar) – as you nibble on sumptuous bar bites like arancini, oysters and caviar.
UMAII (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA)
Adelaide’s hottest new Japanese restaurant, Umaii, is situated within a gorgeous heritage building in the city’s bustling downtown area. The food here is made with distinctly South Australian produce: Think beef tenderloin, Coffin Bay oysters, Spencer Gulf king prawns and regionally harvested bluefin tuna.
Take your pick from assorted sashimi, sushi and Japanese-inspired bar snacks, plus mains such as the kimchi crab udon (blue swimmer crab, kimchi butter and seaweed) and the yuan-yaki duck breast (duck, miso pumpkin and leek). Wash everything down with Japanese whiskies, sakes and umeshu cocktails, and don’t forget to order the black sesame ice cream with Frangelico liqueur, dried plum and kinako (roasted soy bean) for a sweet end to your meal.
OMOTENASHI HOBART (HOBART, TASMANIA)
Omotenashi Hobart is an elegant 12-seater venue that promises a fine-dining experience to remember. Staying true to its name (“omotenashi” is the Japanese expression for “hospitality”), the restaurant is open for only a single sitting on Friday and Saturday nights – meaning that guests fortunate enough to snag a coveted spot will never feel rushed to finish their meal.
While you won’t be able to peruse the specific items on offer before making a reservation, expect to be treated to about 16 dishes that honour Japanese and Australian cooking techniques while spotlighting top-notch Tasmanian produce.
The team of formally trained chefs alternates roles between cooking, serving and storytelling to create an enjoyable and immersive affair for guests.
TILLERMAN (BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND)
Tillerman is one of the latest additions to Brisbane’s growing riverside dining precinct. Specialising in premium seafood, this charming waterfront venue is an ideal location to sample some of the freshest catch that Australia has to offer while taking in picturesque views of Brisbane River.
The extensive menu is updated regularly and boasts inventive takes on classic seafood dishes. Current standouts include Mooloolaba tiger prawns, Fremantle octopus carpaccio with pickled jelly and salt-baked Rocky Point grouper.
With its talented chefs, diverse offerings and delectable local ingredients, Australia is deserving of its reputation as a port of call for epicureans. Book a trip today to experience it for yourself.
Visit Australia.com for more travel inspiration.