Melbourne has long been considered the Australian city with European charm, and its vibrant food and wine scene is constantly evolving. Restaurants, specialist coffee shops, cafés, bars, and festivals are run and attended by adventurous entrepreneurs, chefs, and artisans who are driven by quality, authenticity, integrity, innovation, tradition, and passion. Melbourne’s food scene is unique not only in the sheer size and diversity, but also in the spaces in which it dwells — in laneways and basements, on rooftops, in historic buildings and iconic settings, and countless quirky spaces in between — creating truly extraordinarily experiences.
One of the most notable hipster-chic restaurants in Melbourne is Attica, set in the unassuming suburbs of Melbourne where head chef Ben Shewry delivers tantalizing combinations of unique and eclectic ingredients, some of which are foraged by Shewry himself in the morning near his home on the Bellarine peninsula. Also check out Gin Palace; it dates back to the late 1800s, down a dark Melbourne alley, where there once was an infamous hospitality venue frequented by all kinds of characters at night that eventually adopted the title Gin Palace. Gin Palace was closed for a period of time then reopened by an entrepreneur in 1997, and is still best known for its outstanding martinis.
The depth of Melbourne’s cultural heritage contributes significantly to the richness and authenticity of food and wine experiences in the city, which include Asian, African, and European culinary precincts and produce as well as fresh food markets and an incredible breadth of culturally diverse, high-end dining experiences. Melbourne is a city obsessed with coffee, and there are many specialty roasters and multi-roaster cafés popping up throughout the city. More and more, Melbourne is becoming home to the “it” food scene; in fact, it was announced that Heston Blumenthal's three-Michelin-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck, will temporarily relocate to Crown Resort in Melbourne for six months in 2015.