Modern Australian fine dining Attica

Attica Melbourne, currently number 21 on the World’s Top 50 and is now to be the best restaurant in Australia. The venue was located 74 Glen Eira Rd Ripponlea, VIC 3185.

Ben Shewry, the head Chef of this venue created his menu based on his belief that “food should have deeper meaning than just another item to consume; it can be evocative, emotional and thought provoking, appealing to all of the senses” with that Ben delivered a modern Australian Dining experience by using lots of fresh plants and herbs sourced straight from the Attica’s Garden.

I was intrigued with Attica when my girl friend Preet mentioned that the wait time to get a table was minimum of 3 months if you were lucky. She advised she tried to reserve a table for the pass six months without any luck. Weeks leading up to their birthday both Preet and Travis admitted they called the restaurant every second day to inquire about cancellations but to no avail. Preet explained the reason it was so hard to get in was because the restaurant only release a booking opportunity on the first day of each one for booking 3 months in advance. Upon further reading I was even more enthralled to learn that some people have been on the waiting list for seven months. We were very fortunate to have been shortlisted and was able to secure a table of 4 to celebrate Preet’s upcoming birthday. I would like to use this thread to share our experience here and tips on how to be shortlisted and securing a table.

For those who were curious as to why the wait time was so long. It was because the venue itself was quiet small and can only sit a cozy 40 to 50 people maximum. As we entered we were greeted by the open bar, matte black walls, tables draped with fresh white linen and dimmed spot lights shining over the tables. The restaurant was quiet low key but had a world class vibe to it. We were surrounded by tables of executives and businessmen. Not to name drop or anything but *cough* John *cough* Elliot casually dined behind us. 😉

attica
(Double click image to zoom)

As we sat, placed in front of us were a bowl of Quandong seeds. Hungry and curious I quickly popped one in my mouth thinking they were exotic nuts of some sort when a waiter rushed over to me advising “Oh no NO, you cannot eat those Miss. They were used for decorations only” *Face palm* Preet, Trav and Fedja laughed at my expense. In the same picture we were presented with a bowl of whipped olive oil and smoked chestnut, sea salt and Jersey house churned butter, creamy thick and flavor enriched the butter was amazing spread over the House Made Rye Sour Dough.

Trav and Preet went the the pairing wine selection with their degustation, while Fedja and myself decided to pace our drinks as Fedja had to drive and I wanted the cocktail option.

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Our thoughts were provoked when the waiter placed the platter of Crème Fraîche, Alpine pepper & lemon myrtle dip paired w/mustard leaves onto the table. Such unusual elements, just leaves on dried branches, the four of us were puzzled. Our observant helpful waitress smiled and advised “you can eat the whole thing dipped in Crème Fraîche”. It was interesting, soft Crème Fraîche with crunchiness of the leaves and its stalk, combination of the two delivered a fresh fulfilling bush tucker like feed.

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Our second appetizer came in a form of baby corn steamed in its own layers with butter and spices. This is was a fresh awakening to the tastebuds

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I was so happy when they brought out this dish. This was what Attica was famous for, a sampler of Ben’s Shewry’s famous Plight Of Bees desert (featured on Masterchef) paired with frozen cheese curd this dish was so exciting and a joy to eat. (Chefs and bloggers around the world flew here for this)

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The Wallaby Black Pudding Pikelets, Foam and Flowers: the black pudding made of Wallaby blood and buckwheat base, its texture was soft and fluffy almost spongecake like. To me it tasted like a bite sized meat pie. The table erupted in laughter when I thought that out loud.

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snowcrab

Snow Crab and Sorrel, another signature plate of Ben’s. An understated dish waiting to be discovered. At first glance it was easy to mistake this for a vegan dish. As glossy green leaf was lifted the hidden gem found underneath consisted of tender, juicy fresh snow crab flesh with its flavor enhanced by a tangy mandarin gel.

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Marron and Ground Green Crayfish tail accompanied by ground kale, tarragon and chicken with onion and pork fat puree. A light yet fulfilling dish with rich savory flavor.

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Salted Red Kangaroo and Bunya Bunya salted kangaroo cured by garden fresh citrus vinaigrette juice with Bunya Bunya roots. Similar to a beef Carpaccio.

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Minted Potato,Medium rare well cooked potato served on a bed of curd cheese and butter. A humbling dish

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King Gorge Whiting in Paperbark this dish was a perfect representation of Australian dinning as it utilized a traditional Aboriginal paperbark cooking technique.

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Under the layer of Paperbark laid a juicy tender strip of Port Arlington Whiting marinated with butter, sea parsley and lemon myrtle. Slowly grilled over a mallee root charcoal, just simply delish!

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Pork, Rotten Corn and Lemon Aspen. I found this dish a bit of a let down as the elements did not gel well with the meat.

We were offered a break from meal and given a garden tour of Attica.

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to our right were the herb garden of fresh organic herbs used in our meals.

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Straight ahead of us were a little camp fire, it was raining so we hovered by the fire to keep warm. Our lemon and myrtle tea was served to us a man dressed as an early settler Australian, but his accent gave him away and he was grilled by Preet and Trav, thanks to their detective work we found out he was actually Canadian. (Sneaky, sneaky). Feeling duped we made our way back into the restaurant.

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Marshmellow Anzac biscuits. Preet loved it so much she asked for seconds before heading back inside.

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Whilst the boys took their time (re touching their make up 😉 ) in the restrooms. Preet and I sneaked in a selfie

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Pears and Maidenii. A tantalizing palette cleanser tasted like a frozen yogurt with fresh fruit and herbs. It was gone in sixty seconds

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The Industrious Beet Mixture of shredded coconut,cheese curd, honey comb and mandarin gel this dish gave me a bit of a deja vu of the earlier Plight Of Bees Appetizer.

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Our last surprise was the Pukeko egg. White chocolate egg shells with Caramel fillings. Preet was petrified and refused to eat it as she thought it was a real egg, it was quiet hilarious.

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After 5 hours of dining we decided to get the bill.

****The Verdict***
Very friendly staff with helpful explanation of what you are eating, where it was sourced, how to eat it (lots of unusual greens).
Casual, cultured and humble ambiance.
Can be pricey
I high recommend going with a group of 4 or with someone you really like as you will be sharing dining space with them for 3-4 hours.
A good dining experience, highly recommended

********How to get a table*******

Currently waiting list for Attica is 3 months for weekdays and 7 months for weekends.
Don’t waste your time on phone booking as most times the lines are engaged.
To get a table at last minute one way is to follow Attica on Twitter, As they will normally notify of table availability due to last minute cancellations there.
Their booking system will not allow you to book any earlier than 3 months. You can only book on the first day of each month
But you can send email booking to meet@attica.com.au Clearly state the date you are hoping to reserve in subject.
Be polite to the reservations team, introduce yourself. As they shortlist people who are travelling, bloggers, foodie.
You will need to leave your credit card details to secure booking.

Photo Credit: Preet Samra. Taken with Samsung S4.

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