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Food trends and restaurant news.
1 “Old world techniques presented in a new world way,” is how chef Dave Verheul describes the thinking at LESA (above), his long-awaited Melbourne CBD restaurant with business partner Christian McCabe. That translates as cooking with fire, fermented ingredients, and inventive dishes such as chicken porridge, which is akin to Renaissance comfort food. Unlike bustling Embla downstairs, Lesa is more introspective, offers fixed menus and takes reservations. The rustic space, with exposed brick and vintage furniture, is inviting both day and night. 2 An open fire pit and charcoal parrilla grill form the crux of ASADO, a modern Argentine restaurant at Melbourne’s Southbank. Chef Ollie Gould (ex Stokehouse) orchestrated the menu of slow-roasted meats and Spanish-leaning dishes. On aperitivo afternoons, guests can pair jamon boards, high-grade tinned seafood and
pintxos- style small bites with glasses of sangria and malbec. We’re partial to the jamon consommé with grilled swordfish skewer (pictured above). 3 In Latin American lore, the chupacabra is a vampire-like creature. But at the Mexican
taqueria of the same name in Byron Bay (above right), it’s the revellers who sip on blood-red margaritas and mezcal Negronis. Chef Evan White’s focus is coastal Oaxacan fare, which means vibrant flavours, freshly caught seafood and subtropical fruits and herbs. Splashes of colour, palm trees and the sea air make for a transporting setting.