At­las

Wun­derkind Char­lie Carrington is bring­ing Mel­bourne a culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence sans fron­tières.

Time Out (Melbourne) - - FOOD AWARDS 2017 - By Larissa Dubecki

IF MORE EV­I­DENCE was needed that we’re mov­ing into a truly post-com­mit­ment food world, look no fur­ther than South Yarra restau­rant At­las. This smart lit­tle fire­fo­cused es­tab­lish­ment started off last year in Viet­nam, moved on to Is­rael then Korea, and has now con­quered Mex­ico. In its first year of life, this uniquely shape-shift­ing, globe­hop­ping restau­rant has made like a drunken back­packer with a round-the-world ticket. That Char­lie Carrington man­ages to do it with such con­vic­tion af­ter spend­ing only two weeks in each coun­try for re­search is re­mark­able. And now here we are south of the bor­der, and the premise is only grow­ing stronger. The menu is his best yet, five cour­ses that bridge the street pur­vey­ors of Oax­aca and the fine din­ers of Mex­ico City con­vinc­ingly. You start with a warm loaf of ex­cel­lent, charred bread made with a mix of wheat flour and masa (corn) to give it that tor­tilla-like aroma and dusted with burnt corn for ex­tra au­then­tic­ity. It comes with a complicated an­choa but­ter sur­rounded by a sweet moat of blood or­ange syrup. There’s a big-flavoured, gloopy dip of re­fried beans charged with stringy, salty white Mex­i­can cheese. There’s a house­made tostada that you won’t be able to stop think­ing about. There’s king­fish, rubbed in a spice mix of gar­lic, cumin, black and white pep­per and cin­na­mon and propped on a char­ryedged blue-corn tor­tilla. A slice of pork belly blush­ing with a sweet tamarind glaze shoul­ders up to a mole made from 37 in­gre­di­ents. And round­ing it out is a dulce de leche-style ice cream and chewy de­hy­drated chur­ros crumbs bright­ened with fresh water­melon and lime meringue. The five-course set menu – ridicu­lously good value at $65 – evolves over its four-month sea­son and changes ut­terly at least three times. Time Out’s Best New Restau­rant of 2017 could con­ceiv­ably turn out to be our Best New Restau­rant of 2018. Be­cause with a deal like this, At­las will never get old. 133 Com­mer­cial Rd, South Yarra 3141. 03 9826 2621. at­las­din­ing.com.au. Tue-sat 6-10pm.

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