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Restaurant of the Year: Attica, Melbourne

First there was Ben Shewry, the promising kid out in the suburbs. Then came Ben Shewry, a man on a mission and a chef on the ascendant. Today it's Ben Shewry, spokesperson for Australian restaurants abroad. Never mind that it's not a role of his choosing (and never mind that he's a Kiwi), by dint of his particular interest and ambitions Shewry has fashioned a restaurant not quite like any other on this or any other continent. Along the way he has attracted a band of like-minded collaborators who are drawn to his vision of Attica as a place that's engaged with the community, as committed to social responsibility as it is to feats of culinary daring. Maybe you went to Attica a couple of years ago and liked it. (That potato cooked in earth was really something, wasn't it?) The Attica of today is a different restaurant. Bigger physically, yes, but it's also greater and more substantial. It now has the gardens and test kitchen-trappings that are de rigueur for eateries on the global stage, but it has lost none of its heart. And yes, you'll eat and drink here better than ever.


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