Culture

Now open: Melbourne’s brand new glittering Ritz-Carlton and its soaring rooftop restaurant, Atria

With bookings essential, run, don't walk to Melbourne's ritziest new rooftop restaurant adorning the top of the now officially-open Ritz-Carlton.

Photography: Jason Loucas

Jason Loucas

A restaurant perched 80 floors above Melbourne sounds impressive. But that’s not the only impressive number for Atria, the grand restaurant at the city’s new Ritz-Cartlon. The à la carte menu will have five sections; there will be a dedicated 26-seat cold bar; and it will take just 46 seconds to zip up to level 80 in the elevator. While numbers say a bit about the restaurant, what says more are the two chefs at the helm: the iconoclastic Mark Best, who leads the team as culinary advisor; and executive chef Michael Greenlaw, who spent more than 15 years cooking in five-star hotels and awarded restaurants including London’s Bibendum, New York’s Gilt and Melbourne’s Vue de Monde.

The towering restaurant has impressive views out to Port Phillip Bay and along Victoria’s coastline. But Atria won’t rely solely on its good (out)looks. Instead it will pluck produce from the bays and mountains it overlooks. Greenlaw has spent more than a decade spearfishing and diving, which will see the menu dive into lesser known seafoods. “There are numerous species [of seafood] within Port Phillip Bay. A lot of people know about whiting, flathead and snapper, but there’s another 30-odd delicious species out there,” says Greenlaw. Greenback flounder and banded morwong are just some of the fish that may appear on the cold bar menu.

Beyond the bay there will be other unique seafood coming in from across the coastline: hand-dived scallops from Rye Pier; Victorian abalone from Brighton; and Southern rock lobster off Cape Schanck. While seafood treated with Japanese-like sensibilities will be a key focus, two wood-fired grills and a Josper charcoal oven will also ensure other ingredients like Blackmore beef, Mildura butternut pumpkin and lion mane mushroom are treated with equal integrity and care. Kayleen Tan is on board as executive pastry chef, and everything from milled local grains to handmade croissants will be on her baking agenda. There will also be an attached bar, Cameo where signature drinks will be matched with snacks.

The team also hopes to continue the storied dining legacy of the five-star hotel brand, which has its origins in Paris and London. “Obviously the Ritz-Carlton has an incredibly rich culinary history, going back to César Ritz, and Auguste Escoffier,” says Best. And while that historic legacy could daunt or distract some chefs, Best is set on making the restaurant somewhere the people of Melbourne want to dine, first and foremost. “That was top of mind: how do we feed Melburnians, what do they want from us?” says Best. “The second part of that, is purely personal. I’m a pretty good diner myself, so coming in and going ‘What would I want.'”

Melbourne’s Ritz-Carlton and its rooftop restaurant Atria are officially open today.

Breakfast: Mon-Sat 7:00am – 10:00am; Sun 7:00am – 12:00pm

Lunch: Mon-Sun 11:30am – 3:00pm

Dinner: Mon-Sun 6:00pm – 9:00pm

(Credit: Jason Loucas)

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