Healthy Eating

After fresh ideas for meals that are healthy but still pack a flavour punch? We've got salads and vegetable-packed bowls to soups and light desserts.

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Living off the land in winter
27.07.2017

The life of a farmer revolves around the seasons. Come winter, a certain thriftiness is needed in the kitchen to make the most of meagre produce, writes Paulette Whitney.

Why breakfast isn't the most important meal of the day in Italy
27.07.2017

Italy's claim to being the greatest of the world's cuisines has one key weakness: breakfast. But, argues John Irving, there's more to the story than first meets the eye.

Reasons to visit Los Angeles in 2017
27.07.2017

The hottest spots to eat, drink, play and stay on your next trip to LA, rounded up into one perfect day.

Restaurants with rooms
27.07.2017

Some of Australia's best dining destinations take the hassle out of a weekend stay by offering their own on-site digs where you can hit the hay in style after your meal.

Reasons to visit Canberra in 2017
27.07.2017

Your guide to a perfect stay in Canberra, from where to sleep to the exhibitions you need to check out.

Finalists for Maitre D' of the Year 2018
26.07.2017

The maitre d' is your first introduction to a restaurant - they do as much to create a sense of ambience as lighting, tableware and music. And these three professionals are top of the class.

Finalists for Sommelier of the Year 2018
25.07.2017

Three sommeliers, three different personalities, all first-rate guides to the lists at their establishments. We present our 2018 finalists: Caitlyn Rees, Gaving Cremming and Patrick White.

Where to eat, drink and stay in Victoria's High Country
25.07.2017

From Mansfield to Beechworth, Rutherglen to the King Valley, we've rounded up the places that should be on your radar in the High Country.

Where to eat in Melbourne right now

Ides

Ides

The question: where should I be eating in Melbourne right now? First reaction: a blank, paralysed by choice, stare. The eventual answer: here are five we love; some brand new, others more familiar but all absolutely kicking it. The proviso: ask us again in a week.

Ôter
The blow from the demise of much-loved Japanese basement joint Yu-u has been softened with the arrival of its successor, Ôter. Former Pei Modern head chef Florent Gerardin is in the open kitchen pumping out an exhilarating blend of regional French dishes with a modern twist. Some, like superb fish broth served with little toasts topped with rouille and grated Gruyère or the wonderful selection of sweet tarts displayed on a large breadboard on the bar top, play a traditional bat. Others, like cobia wing sitting under sculptural sheets of kohlrabi, or crabmeat mixed with apple and a super-rich macadamia cream, less so. A smart French-leaning wine list with plenty of good stuff by the glass helps bring flexibility to Ôter so it's as easy to come in for a drink and a snack as it is to hunker down to the full hog.
137 Flinders La, Melbourne, (03) 9639 7073, oter.com.au

Ides
Peter Gunn used to be Ben Shewry's sous-chef at Attica and appears to have been fond of Attica's former Tuesday nights when customers would be used as willing guinea pigs for new dishes. The menu at Ides never stays the same - Gunn takes a freewheeling approach based on what's in the market from day to day. A salty carrot broth might contain octopus and chickpeas one day, pork belly and radishes the next. There could be a ridiculous (and ridiculously good) toasted Gruyère sandwich or a beautifully cooked lamb rump served with a Brussels sprout slaw. Not every dish on the six-course menu flies, but the strike rate's good and it's exhilarating to witness a talented young chef in his first standalone venture pushing boundaries. A good one for those after a food adventure.
92 Smith St, Collingwood, (03) 9939 9542, idesmelbourne.com.au

Vaporetto
Crabapple Kitchen has already made Greg Feck one of the most popular chefs in Hawthorn. Now with Vaporetto, a bustling double-storied bar-restaurant love letter to Venice, his stocks will soar even higher. There's plenty of attractive Venetian bling on show (including Murano glass chandeliers and an entire tobacconist's shopfront shipped in from Italy), backed up by a solid menu of well-cooked, crowd-pleasing, regionally correct favourites, such as a version of risotto Buranello using rockling and star anise, and a clever take on vitello tonnato using porchetta and clam mayonnaise. The bar has a range of cocktails that include a Bellini and a version of the Aperol Spritz, plus a cicchetti menu that might include a Harry's Bar-inspired toasted cheese sandwich or spanner crab arancini. It's an ideal hangout after a movie at next-door's (aptly named) Lido cinema.
Rear 681 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn (enter via Grace St), (03) 9078 5492, vaporetto.com.au

Embla
The roast chicken is worth the trip alone: a boned (aside from the leg), meticulously sourced half-bird popped into the wood-fired oven with rosemary and cloves of garlic, then served with sauce made from the chicken bones and a lively gremolata. It's a reminder of how very, very good a respected chook can be. Most of the rest of the cooking is done with wood, too, though there's a lot of great pickling action in the mix as well (if the pickled mussels with the rouille are on, order them). It's food tailored to a wine list that's all about minimal-intervention wines from the Old and New Worlds alike, a list carefully constructed and charmingly explained so that even the most adamant natural-wine sceptics might be soothed, if not converted.
122 Russell St, Melbourne, (03) 9654 5923, embla.com.au

Anchovy
Thi Le's unassuming Richmond shopfront is home to some of the most interesting and vibrant flavours in town right now. Skilfully blending traditional Vietnamese and South East Asian cuisine with modern-classic technique, Le weaves great texture and powerful (but never overwhelming) flavour into every dish. Her blood pudding flavoured with star anise and Shaoxing wine and served in a crunchy lettuce leaf has become an instant classic but there's plenty more joy on the menu, from her take on a banh mi that includes stracciatella, plums and white anchovies to juicy jungle-spiced spatchcock served with sticky rice.
338 Bridge Rd, Richmond, (03) 9428 3526 anchovy.net.au

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