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