The February issue

Our clean eating issue is out now, packed with super lunch bowls, gluten-free desserts and more - including our cruising special, covering all luxury on the seas.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a free Gourmet Menus book - offer ends 26 February 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Australia's best rieslings

We’re spoilt for variety – and value – in Australia when it comes to good riesling. Max Allen picks the top 20 from a fine crop.

Fig recipes

Figs. We can't get enough of them. Here are a few sweet and savoury ways to add them to your summer spread.

Curtis Stone's strawberry, elderflower and brioche summer puddings

"Think of this dessert as a deconstructed version of a summer pudding, with thinly sliced strawberries macerated in elderflower liqueur and layered between slices of brioche," says Stone. "A dollop of whipped cream on top is a cooling counterpoint to the floral flavours."

Most popular recipes summer 2017

Counting down from 20, here are this summer's most-loved recipes.

Top Australian chefs to follow on Instagram in 2017

A lot has changed since we first published our pick of the best chefs to follow on Instagram (way back in the dark ages of 2013). Here’s who we’re double-tapping on the photo-sharing app right now.

Christine Manfield recipes

As the '90s dawned, darling chefs were pushing the boundaries of cooking in this country. A young Christine Manfield, just starting out at this heady time, soon became part of the generation that redefined modern Australian cuisine. She shares some of her timeless signatures from the era.

Chorizo hotdogs with chimichurri and smoky red relish

A hotdog is all about the condiments. Here, choose between a smoky red capsicum relish or the bright flavours of chimichurri, or go for a bit of both.

Sleep in a Grampians olive grove this autumn

Under Sky are popping up with a luxe camping hotel experience at Mount Zero Olives this April.

Maitre d’ of the year 2008: Mallory Wall, Café Di Stasio, St Kilda, Vic

Cast your mind back to 1990 and a young Ronnie Di Stasio is several years into his first solo venture as a restaurateur, the eponymous Café Di Stasio, in what was a part of Melbourne better known for its sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll than its food. With Valerio Nucci cooking, Di Stasio working the floor in his unique manner and diners enjoying the brooding charm of architect Allan Powell’s interiors, this fish-out-of-water restaurant is starting to take off. But Di Stasio needs help.

Walking down the street one sunny afternoon comes 21-year-old Mallory Wall, fresh from her first trip overseas, unemployed, and not wanting to go back to hotels again (she’d been working at Melbourne’s Menzies at Rialto with chefs such as Ian Curley and Gary Jones prior to hitting London) or a music degree she’d started but now seemed unlikely to finish.

"Hey, bella," says the guy in the doorway of the quirky little Fitzroy Street restaurant. Ronnie had met Wall before; it was the start of something alright.

Now staring down the barrel of a 20th birthday, Café Di Stasio is a rare thing in Australian restaurant circles: a place that is justifiably considered as urbane and relevant now as it was when it opened, a success story. And a lot of that has to do with the evergreen approach of maître d’ and manager Mallory Wall, whose passion for – and knowledge of – the gastronomy and culture of Italy, her respect for restaurant tradition and appreciation of contemporary directions, informs much of what happens on a day-to-day basis at the restaurant. As it has for 17 years now, surely one of the longer stints by a front-of-house person at any Australian restaurant.

Wall is just one of those people in the right job, her understanding of service tempered by the quirky, almost club-like atmosphere of the restaurant and the people who favour it, many of whom have become friends. They include artists, designers, architects and many of Melbourne society’s more colourful characters for whom pigeonholes present a way-too-confining characterisation. For not only does Wall front one of the great Melbourne restaurants, as familiar with the kitchen’s oeuvre as she is with a special Brunello di Montalcino, but she also conducts an orchestra of male waiters whose style, manner and – hopefully – charm you just know is the result of many, many hours spent studying the form in the great and humble restaurants of Italy over the past 17 years. Like the passion of an expatriate for an adopted country, so it is that one of the great Italian restaurants of Australia would be less were it not for an Irish Catholic girl from Mentone whose love of Italy infuses every nook and cranny of her adopted home, Café Di Stasio.

31a Fitzroy St, St Kilda, Vic, (03) 9528 3999.

WORDS JOHN LETHLEAN PORTRAIT DEREK SWALWELL

  • Destination:
  • VIC
Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Perfect match: Pasi Petanen and Giorgio De Maria pop-up this March
24.02.2017
Mexican ramen at Rising Sun Workshop
23.02.2017
Toby Wilson, Sean McManus and Jon Kennedy to open Bad Hombres
16.02.2017
What’s happening in South Yarra?
15.02.2017
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s chef collaborations
14.02.2017
Hot Plates: Long Chim, Melbourne
14.02.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Albert Street Food & Wine

Philippa Sibley may have left the building, but Albert St F...

Ananas Bar & Brasserie

With a soundtrack laden with dance beats and a dark, moody ...

Aravina Estate

The family-friendly nature of Aravina explains the terracot...

Assaggio

Assaggio's very red, very mod fit-out has undeniable flair,...

Aubergine

The grey-whiskered Ben Willis could pass for a maturing, bu...

Annie Smithers' Bistrot

Annie Smithers may have decamped for Du Fermier, but the bi...

Aquitaine Brasserie

The name is a nod to France's south-west gastronomic heartl...

Bacchus - Brisbane

Rydges doesn't exactly leap to mind when you think "complex...

Balla

Pronounce it "bah-la" for Piedmont-born artist and composer...

Balthazar

The mixing of business and pleasure comes second nature to ...

Boucher

Escargots, foie gras, bouillabaisse - the expected French s...

Carlton Wine Room

The relaxed ambience and witty, irreverent service may say ...

Celsius

A land of smoke and mirrors, Celsius is an urbane, nightclu...

Citron

Mark Newman's cassia beef cheek is the type of dish that ce...

Divido

To those who dream of the old country, Divido is the modern...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×