Die-hard foodies should already be familiar with some of the spectacular fares in Melbourne. However, with over 3,500 restaurants offering cuisines from at least 70 countries, the sheer variety of options may just overwhelm you.
To help you solve this delicious conundrum, we highlight the best gastronomic experiences that will be taking place throughout the year. Whether you’re a bona fide hipster drawn to cafes along Melbourne’s famous cobbled laneways, or a demanding connoisseur looking for the ultimate dining experience at a hatted restaurant - restaurants that are awarded a prestigious chef hat signifies its outstanding food quality - Melbourne’s 2017 culinary showcase has so much to offer any foodie’s discerning palate.
Excite your senses at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
For its 25th year running, the renowned festival (March 31 to April 9) shines the global spotlight on Victoria’s internationally-acclaimed dining scene. Melbourne will also be the first Australian city to host the announcement of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants on April 5, which will draw in culinary superstars from around the globe.
In Lygon Street - Melbourne’s best-known Little Italy - the Godfather of Italian cooking and fan favourite Antonio Carluccio, will host the long-running festival favourite, the World’s Longest Lunch, with a record table length of 600 metres that seats 1,600 diners. The lunch is set to be a true al fresco celebration in one of the most iconic dining spots in Melbourne.
This year, the inaugural House of Food and Wine, located at a laneway off Little Lonsdale in the heart of the CBD, has a line-up of delicious food together with Victorian booze and snacks. Here, join Australia’s wine legends at The Winemakers’ Feast where masters such as Rick Kinzbrunner from Giaconda and Ron Laughton from Jaster Hill will offer their personal vintage collections for your tasting pleasure.
Don’t miss the rare opportunity to experience Monday Family Dinner - a feast by mother-and-son duo Angie and Dan Hong who will be cooking up a storm using authentic family recipes, served in a homely setting for the full experience.
The Food and Wine Festival will also feature masterclasses by renowned chefs from all around the world. Learn from influential heads and hands such as Carlo Cracco, owner of Milan's Ristorante Cracco and the pioneer of progressive Italian cooking, as well as Grant Achatz, a maverick at the forefront of experimental food art, who runs the Chicago restaurant Alinea.
Eating tour off the beaten track
For those who would rather escape the city in search of hidden gems, you can do no better than in regional Victoria. Bask in the autumn charm of red, brown and yellow hues as you enjoy regional Victoria’s seasonal produce at farm gates, markets and stalls, where fruits are ripe for the picking and you can savour the best of local produce with breathtaking views as the backdrop.
On the Bellarine Taste trail, for instance, participants can mingle with passionate local food producers and be entertained by their unique stories. Enjoy a delicious breakfast at Van Loon’s Cafe where food is made using produce from their kitchen garden. Afterwards, have a relaxing lunch at Terindah Estate, where you can watch local mussel farmers at work, and take a walk along a private beach with fig trees.
If you’re seeking a unique, pastoral experience, the Yarra Valley is home to exceptional food and wines steeped in local tradition. On the 13km Cold Stream trail, you can revel in the picturesque scenery while picking your own fresh strawberries. Consider visiting all-time favourites like the Cider and Ale trail with stopovers at artisanal breweries. At the Hargreaves Hill Brewing Co, participants can sample varieties of craft beer, from the light Hefeweizen to the intense Russian Imperial Stout.
For a real treat, head down to the High Country Harvest (May 5-21) and visit a few hatted restaurants while you enjoy the festivities. Provenance is a restaurant built in 1856 that celebrates Japanese-inspired regional cuisine. Soak in the grandeur of yesteryear with a truly memorable dining experience together with matching wines that are in a league of their own.
Over at Brown Brothers Milawa Vineyard, one of Australia’s leading family-owned wine companies that has been around since 1889, take the opportunity and honour to taste some of Victoria’s most distinctive wines together with dishes that are cooked with seasonal produce from north-east Victoria.
Delight your inner epicure with fine dining offerings
From traditional recipes to modern masterpieces, regional Victoria has got its fine-dining scene down pat.
Enjoy an intimate evening with loved ones at Brae, a dining establishment by chef Dan Hunter, who uses only the freshest produce grown on Brae’s very own 12 acres of gardens and farms. From homegrown stone fruits, berries, citrus and even free-range eggs, Brae is a place where seasonal produce is the star of the show, proving that sophistication can go hand in hand with sustainability.
You can also enjoy heart-warming experiences at the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, where chef Robin Wickens - who has earned two hats for three consecutive years since 2015 - has curated an eclectic eight-course tasting menu with each dish paired with a fine wine from the hotel’s award-winning selection that has been 40 years in the making.
Lastly, tucked away in the rural township of Inverleigh, 20 minutes away from Geelong, is the stunning Gladioli restaurant - a restored cottage surrounded by lush gardens that is truly the peak of anachronistic charm. Allow celebrated chef Matt Dempsey to bring you the freshest local produce in modern Australian cuisine as you relax with friends late into the night.
Melbourne's kaleidoscope of culinary offerings has truly earned it the status as a global mecca for foodies. With its quality and diversity, rich produce, and passionate chefs and artisans, travellers are bound to leave this beautiful city with a full stomach and a heavy heart.
Go to http://www.visitmelbourne.com/ for more travel and dining inspirations.
Start the food trail with SIA
Why wait until Melbourne to begin your food adventure? When travelling with Singapore Airlines, passengers can expect a world-class selection of signature dishes and wines curated by the world's leading experts.
Business Class, First Class and Suite travellers can also indulge in special creations inspired by award-winning chefs on the International Culinary Panel.
Through Singapore Airline's Book the Cook service, travellers can customise their dining experience with meals crafted by renowned chefs such as Matt Moran of Australia, who has received two prestigious Chef's Hat awards by the influential Sydney Morning Herald Good Food guide.
A selection of fine wines and champagnes has also been curated by distinguished wine consultants to be paired with passengers’ main dishes.
Singapore Airlines flies to Melbourne four times a week and fares start from $578. Visit singaporeair.com/melbourne to book now. Promotion ends March 31, 2017.