The 50th Anniversary Issue

Our 50th birthday issue is on sale now. We're celebrating five decades of great food and travel with our biggest issue yet.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 27th November, 2016 and receive a Villeroy & Boch platter!

Gourmet on your iPad

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad.

Cruise control: Captain Kent of the Emerald Princess

We caught up with Princess Cruises’ Captain William Kent to talk life on deck, sailing the Red Sea and how to spend 24 hours in Venice.

Midnight in Melbourne style

After-dark glamour calls for monochrome elegance with accents of red and the glimmer of bling. Martinis await.

Recipes by David Thompson

Thai food maestro David Thompson returns to the Sydney restaurant scene with the opening of Long Chim, a standard-bearer for Thailand’s robust street food. Fiery som dtum is just the beginning.

Reader dinner: Quay, Sydney

Join us at Quay for a specially designed dinner by Peter Gilmore to celebrate the launch of the new Gourmet Traveller cookbook.

GT's party hamper

We’ve partnered again with our friends at Snowgoose to bring you the ultimate party hamper. With each item selected by the Gourmet Traveller team, it’s all killer and no filler.

Aerin Lauder’s Morocco

Meet Aerin Lauder; creative director, lifestyle mogul, mother and global traveller. Here she shares her musings on Morocco, the exotic catalyst for her latest collection.

A hotel dedicated to gin is opening in London

A modern-day gin palace, The Distillery, is set to open in the middle of London’s Portobello Market this year.

Dan Hong's salt and pepper calamari with lime aioli

The executive chef shares his salt and pepper squid recipe, including his secret for a crisp, light batter.

Hot Plates: Higher Ground, Melbourne

Higher Ground cafe in Melbourne's CBD

Higher Ground cafe in Melbourne's CBD

The line between café and restaurant is blurred at the CBD’s Higher Ground.

Involuntary, uncool gawking around is a given for first-timers at Higher Ground. With its 15-metre ceilings, bank of Playschool-on-steroids arched windows and 160-seat capacity over mezzanine and split levels, the former power station space is seriously, consciously impressive. Even more amazing is that the cavernous proportions feel intimate with noise levels hovering at a pleasant cathedral-like burble.

Initial positive feelings towards Higher Ground come in part from the flush of success at finally gaining access - there's often a person-with-a-clipboard-organised wait during the day ranging from 15 minutes on a Tuesday morning to nearly two hours at peak brunch on Sundays. But the good vibes are mostly down to being looked after by a team that seriously knows their café stuff.

This behemoth counts Kettle Black and Top Paddock as siblings and the family resemblance is marked. The coffee (from three machines, one cleverly stationed outside for takeaway customers and queuers) is solid with a menu that runs to filter, batch brew and several single origin options, complete with tasting notes. Service is calm, efficient and friendly, and the multiple seating options - communal tables, bar and lounge seating, banquette-like couches - all strike a distinct, clean-cut, Scandinavian-Japanese pose.

But the clearest similarity is with the café-meets-restaurant approach to the food. Clearly plated with Instagram in mind, it's good looking but it's good eating too. A lamb sausage roll arrives as a golden pastry-encircled slice of deliciously seasoned lamb mince sharing a plate with house-pickled cucumbers and aïoli flecked with tiny pieces of anchovy. Roasted and pickled mushrooms are dumped on soft, pale yellow polenta, and textured with hazelnut and sourdough crumbs. There's a delicate dish of cured kingfish served with seaweed and ponzu, a hefty bacon sandwich with brown sauce, and pretty sweet things that read like breakfast (ricotta hotcakes with maple syrup, seeds and grains, fruit and flowers) and look like dessert.

The something-for-everybody approach here is confident, measured and restrained so that it avoids looking overly eager or obsequious. It's a mature approach that bodes well for Higher Ground's longevity beyond the initial flush of being the latest greatest thing.

Higher Ground, open Mon-Wed 7am-4pm, Thu-Fri 7am-11pm, Sat 8am-11pm, Sun 8am-4pm, 650 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, (03) 8899 6219 

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
things to do this autumn

Whether it's foraging for wild mushrooms in a picturesque Victorian forest or watching a film by moonlight in Darwin, we've got you covered with 20 exciting autumn experiences from around Australia.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

You might also like...

Hot Plate: Face2Face Noodles, Sydney

Chinatown's new spicy Chongqing-styled noodle bar is complet...

get the latest news

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