Look­ing back on a year of gas­tro­nomic feats, here are the dishes, take­away treats and cafe gems that

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - On Sunday - See de­li­cious.com.au for the top dishes in Bris­bane and Syd­ney.

have turned our heads and made us smile in 2016

IT’S been a crack­ing year for food in Mel­bourne, so I’ve put my head to­gether with my es­teemed col­leagues, de­li­cious. on Sun­day’s Dan Stock and Me­gan Miller, to pluck out our edi­ble high­lights. Some are new, oth­ers are old favourites, re­dis­cov­ered but still fan­tas­tic. If you’ve eaten any of them, nice work, and put the oth­ers on your “must do” list for 2017.

The cauli power at Boosa Cafe This is a must-or­der pow­er­house brekkie of a thick­ish slab of spiced ba­con, fried egg, three thick-shelled cro­quettes burst­ing with cauli good­ness and a tipped jar of tomato salad with a side of dukkah to ap­ply at will. Boosa means “kiss” in Ara­bic and we’d hap­pily canoo­dle all day with this beauty.

Buf­falo moz­zarella, zuc­chini fritters, mint and pea salad at Coda (pic­tured) Fresh, light and as sim­ple as hell. Out­stand­ing.

Pizza at Figo Pizza More take­away than restau­rant, we’ll still rec­om­mend grab­bing one of the ta­bles here for their menu of Ital­ian street food that ranges from arancini and po­lenta to piz­zas with zero-sog crusts that avoid the twin pizza sins of be­ing too thick or too dry.

Sea corn tacos at Lume This dish has to be here not just for the brav­ery of putting it on the menu but for its creamy, crunchy good­ness. Who knew cured camel hump could taste so good!

The lah­ma­cun at Babajan Is­mail To­sun and Kirsty Chi­aplias are weav­ing Mid­dle East­ern magic at Babajan, and the lah­ma­cun, a flat­bread of spiced lamb, pine nuts, fresh tomato and pars­ley, is one of the win­ners on the short menu. Also don’t miss the cin­na­mon and star anise-rubbed beef fil­let that’s sweet and heady and soft and ut­terly de­li­cious. Avo­cado toast at At­tica Ben Shewry su­per­charges the classic. Avo­cado topped with bursts of na­tive fin­ger lime is part of the de­gus­ta­tion menu here that re­flects so many unique culi­nary quirks – like pikelets – most de­li­ciously.

The corn or whit­ing at Em­bla It’s a mark of how good the food is at this city wine bar that two dishes get a nod. The whit­ing with brown but­ter would be ef­fort­less sim­plic­ity if you didn’t know the skill it took to cook this iconic fish so per­fectly. And the sea­sonal creamed corn bal­ances the ker­nels’ sweet­ness with dried citrus and a slight, burnt onion bit­ter­ness for a dish that is both com­fort­ing and the height of bang-up-to-the-minute so­phis­ti­ca­tion.

Cas­soulet at Du Fer­mier The in­domitable Annie Smithers is a onewoman culi­nary pow­er­house who salts her own pork and makes her own sausages for her take on this classic French stew. But it’s the creami­ness of the beans that are ac­tu­ally the hero.

Le­mon tart at Syra­cuse Not con­tent with start­ing that whole salty caramel craze here, Philippa Si­b­ley also makes the best le­mon tart in the coun­try – bar none. Tart of le­mon bright­ness, satiny of tex­ture and with the per­fect pas­try crust, this is a ba­si­cally a citrus cel­e­bra­tion.

Car­rot cake crois­sant at Lune Crossan­terie The flaki­est pas­try and a fill­ing that screams Aunt Daphne’s car­rot cake makes this more than a ri­val for the crois­sants here that have won plau­dits from pretty much every­one – The Wall Street Jour­nal in­cluded. Just don’t tell the Yanks San Francisco’s fa­mous “cruf­fin”, crois­sant of­f­cuts baked in a muf­fin tin, was in­vented by the team here too.

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