There are so many reviews of Attica on the web already. The question is, why am I bothered? Yes, I do. I like to keep a visual diary of all the great restaurants and share my culinary adventure with other food lovers. People love to see beautiful photos of food and make a preliminary decision to try or not. When it comes to fine dining as you invest time and money into a multi-course evening dinner. You want the food and experience worthy of the money you spent.
Attica is nested in a quiet suburb of Ripponlea, 9km south of CBD. Inside an unassuming red brick house, as the big grey door opens, it is a dim-lit minimalist cosy space. A 50-seats venue with eclectic music playing gently in the background is perfect for me. We can still enjoy the conversation with friends without the interrupting background noise if we are in a big venue.
Here we go with the 10-course seasonal degustation menu.
An artistic woven basket with decorative feathers.
The cosy minimalist interior.
Shellfish BBQ cooked at the table. The delicious chargrilled smell was making us salivating.
BBQ oysters simply delicious. The velvety buttery and citrusy flavours.
Chargrilled king prawns. A novelty here - eat with our hands.
BBQ king prawns wrapped with a lettuce leave topped with a spicy sauce and an aioli-ish creamy sauce. Kind of a new-age prawn cocktail. Thumbs up!
This is no ordinary caviar - with the added edible ants and honey! I ate crispy deep-fried locusts in Taipei many years ago. The ants are the new addition to the insect delicacy.
Fluffy hot mini pancakes / blinis - perfect for the caviar.
A perfect bite-sized goodie for picnic no doubt. A blini topped with sour cream, honey-ant-caviar and chives. Yum!
Another first for me - the pearl oyster with lemon myrtle butter. Being an Asian eating abalone is a must-have dish in a banquet. The pearl oyster does taste like abalone and this dish is definitely a delicacy of the sea.
Pairing wine - 2018 A.J. Adam Im Pharrgarten Riesling Feinherb, Mosel, Germany
Cold-pressed Korean fried chicken sandwich with the sweet and spicy Davidson Plum sauce. Nom!
Pairing drink - Wildflower Amber Blend #29, Marrickville, New South Wales
Green leaves salad with the butter miso dressing and topped with shaved parmesan. One delicious salad l love the umami flavours.
Pairing drink - Fujiichi Shuzo Kikutaka Kanazawa Kobo #7, Aichi, Japan
Beautiful and playful use of the Chinese Ying Yang symbol - the black and white radish. Underneath is the tender white fish tartare.
Pairing wine - 2017 Yangarra Roux Beaute, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Chef Ben Shewry's famous earth baked potato. The light and fluffy baked potato served inside a crusty sourdough roll. Love this potato every visit.
Paring wine - Bannockburn Chardonnay 2002 - Geelong, Victoria
The little crustaceous meaty beast Marron served with a delicious bisque. Beautiful flavours.
Pairing wine - Clos Cibonne Cuvee Tradition Rosé 2018 - Côtes de Provence, France
Last savoury course - tender beef rib with Dorrigo peppers. The beef melts in your mouth, amazing.
Pairing wine - Fighting Gully Road Syrah 2017, Beechworth, Victoria.
A little break after the savoury courses. We were chatting in the photo gallery with the super-friendly staff while sipping cocktails and enjoying the ice-cream too.
The gallery displays walls of photos captured Chef Ben Shewry and other famous chefs.
Choose your own toppings ice-cream. Spoiled with choices!
Delicious creamy ice-cream made from the nuts of Bunya pine tree, served with a crispy waffle cone.
Beautiful crème brulée tart topped with the multi-colour finger lime.
A slice of the decadent finger lime crème brulée tart.
Pairing wine - Mac Forbes RS95 Riesling 2020 - Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria
Delicious dark chocolate caramel served inside the crocodile jaw. A fun way to conclude the wonderful 10-course degustation dinner.
Chef Ben Shewry emphasises using local produce and rare native ingredients such as Bunya nuts, Pearl oyster, Sugar ants, Davidson plum, Marron, Finger lime, etc. The flavours, textures and presentation of the creative courses are superb. I particularly enjoyed the little tour after the savoury courses. We mingled in the photo gallery sipping cocktails and eating ice cream surrounded by photos of renowned chefs and portraits. After sitting down for over two hours, it was a welcoming break and a lovely chat with the super friendly staff.
The verdict - $320 pp plus wine pairing on top, this is not a monthly visit but for special occasions. I will ask myself what I ate that night in January six months later? Will I remember some of the dishes? A few courses imprinted in my culinary lexicon are the Pearl oyster, Sugar ants and Finger lime crème brulée tart. The answer is Yes. I will re-visit again for the third time.
A regular in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, rated 20 in 2018. Attica has set an eminent status for fine dining in Melbourne. It offers innovative modern Australian cuisine at its very best.
I hope you enjoyed the review from a non-critic food lover. Bon appetit!
74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea VIC 3185