Where to Eat in Australia, According to Three Chefs

Three top Australian chefs tell us where to eat (and drink) down under.

Where to Eat in Australia, According to Three Chefs

A recent Australia-themed dinner at Chefs Club in New York City. From left: Clayton Wells of Sydney, David Moyle of Hobart, and Victor Liong of Melbourne

Photo by Jennifer Flowers

We’ve asked three top Australian chefs—whom we met last fall while they were cooking up a storm at Chefs Club in New York City—to talk about how they spend their days in three of the most exciting cities in Australia for food and drink. Revealing their insider spots are Clayton Wells of Automata in Sydney, Victor Liong of Lee Ho Fook in Melbourne, and David Moyle of Franklin in Hobart, Tasmania. Read on, and then book your eating tour down under.


Chef Clayton Wells, Automata

Ester in Sydney

Ester in Sydney

Courtesy of Ester

Long Lunch
Ester is right around the corner from my restaurant in Chippendale. Mat Lindsay’s food—roasted oysters, king prawn with capers, dry aged steak on the bone—is some of the most delicious in Sydney. And it’s a great spot for a long Sunday lunch. ”

Suburban Gem
Sixpenny is the perfect special-occasion restaurant with a degustation menu that taps ingredients from the restaurant’s own plot of land. It’s in a quiet suburb not far from the city, and Dan Puskas, the chef, is a talent to watch. Try the venison tartare with boudin noir and beetroot.”

Innovative Pasta
ACME is a great, fun spot for original pasta dishes, such as strozzapreti with enoki mushrooms and kale, or rye spaghetti with leeks and sesame. Chef Mitch Orr spent time cooking at the famous Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy.”

This Must Be The Place is the best place for cocktails in Sydney: casual and non-fussy. Try the Atlas (Don Julio reposado, muscat, yuzu, ginger, and toasted sesame).”

Spice I Am is literally on my street. It serves a great, interesting menu that doesn’t focus on the Thai dishes everyone knows. Chef Sujet Saenkham also runs a cooking school.”

Small Bites and Libations
“I used to work at the bar at Momofuku Seiōbo before Paul Carmichael took over as head chef. The bar has always been a great place to go for a chill night with decent wine and great snacks. It’s as good as ever now with Paul’s Caribbean-influenced menu.”

Pizza Joint
“The Dolphin is perfect for a casual, quick dinner of pizza or small bites such as salumi and rock oysters. The wine list is really solid, too.”

Chocolate and Ice Cream
Kakawa is putting out some of the best chocolate in Sydney. They have a shop across the road from Automata, and their ice cream sandwiches are ridiculously good.”

Chef Victor Liong, Lee Ho Fook

Town Mouse in Melbourne

Town Mouse in Melbourne

Courtesy of Town Mouse

Wine Bar
“Drink a glass of rosé at City Wine Shop and snack on charcuterie or buffalo mozzarella in the afternoon on one of the outdoor wooden tables, which has views of the Parliament building right across the street. Bliss!” Aperitif
Bar Ampere is great for an aperitif or a nightcap. Also: They do a killer club sandwich.”

Neighborhood Joint
“Town Mouse is a great neighborhood hangout with new-style food and a natural wine focus. On the menu: goat’s cheese profiteroles, heirloom tomatoes with fromage blanc, and aged duck leg with ratatouille.”

Flower Drum is the best Chinese restaurant experience in Australia. The stir-fried pearl meat is a must.”

Brunch Spot
“At Pope Joan, Matt Wilkinson cooks the best breakfast and brunch—so fresh and so clean. Be sure to check out the kitchen garden.”

Lune Croissanterie has some of the best croissants in Melbourne. Go midweek to avoid the queue.”

Chef David Moyle, Franklin

The Agrarian Kitchen cooking school, Tasmania

The Agrarian Kitchen cooking school, Tasmania

Photo Courtesy of Agrarian Kitchen

Fish and Chips
is a fish-and-chips shop on a pier in an old anchovy processing plant. It’s situated in the most incredible and picturesque setting and serves fish and chips using diverse species. The only choice is the size, and whether you want vinegar or not. Continue down the peninsula for a beautiful drive to the beaches of Eagle Hawk Neck.”

Cooking School
“Rodney and Severine have been operating the Agrarian Kitchen cooking school with a fully operational and productive garden in the Derwent for eight years. Over that time, it has become widely recognized whilst the garden has developed.”

“At Belgrove Distillery, Peter Bignell distills homegrown grains into high-quality whiskey. They’re all made in a still that runs on ethanol using a completely closed-loop system.”

Lotus Eaters is a small café in Cygnet that serves simple salads and panini using extremely local ingredients. During the summer months, stop here for lunch on your way to the Huon Valley for freshly picked apples, pears, cherries, plums, and other stone fruit.”

Pyengana Dairy Company is a cheese farm set on an extremely picturesque property within rolling hills, just inland from the northeast coast of Tasmania. This dairy has developed a self-milking system for the cows, and it produces excellent milk. They then produce cheddar and other cheeses that are of the highest quality.”

>>Next: Why You May Need a Second Passport

Jennifer Flowers is an award-winning journalist and the senior deputy editor of Afar.
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