Food News

Melbourne’s Attica to launch an “at home” menu, and a bakery next door

If there’s a silver lining to COVID-19, it’s enjoying Ben Shewry’s Vegemite scrolls at home.
Chef Ben Shewry with the Attica team.

Chef Ben Shewry with the Attica team. (Photo: Supplied)

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Melbourne’s Attica is the latest hospitality venue to react swiftly to the changing state of the Australian dining scene, with the celebrated restaurant to launch a take-home menu and bakery on Tuesday March 24.

As a result of a large downturn in trade triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, chef-owner Ben Shewry has launched these initiatives for customers to enjoy Attica’s dishes home, in line with the current health recommendations for diners to remain socially distant.

Attica Bake Shop is set to open next door to the restaurant, and will serve giant versions of the restaurant’s signature Vegemite scrolls, as well as Davidson’s Plum sweet scrolls and pull-apart garlic bread. The shopfront will be cashless.

The Attica Classics take-home menu features three defining dishes from the restaurant’s 15-year history, including the “potato cooked in the earth it was grown”, the chef’s fine-dining version of New Zealand’s hangi; “the dish that saved Attica” aka a brick of shredded lamb shoulder, crusted with spices, then deep-fried; and a trifle version of the “plight of the bees”, a layered dessert with fennel ice, meringue and honey-flavoured curd.

“These are really famous and beloved dishes from Attica’s past that have never made a return,” says Shewry. It’s the first time since 2006 that the restaurant has offered a takeaway option. “The lamb comes from our first menu when we had so few customers, we allowed diners who wanted the dish to take it away,” he says. He has previously credited the popular lamb dish for turning around the fortunes of his then-struggling restaurant.

The “family meal” menu, by contrast, strikes a more homely tone. Designed for two, it includes lasagne, a green salad, and garlic bread. “Growing up in New Zealand, lasagne was always one of those special occasion dishes for the family,” says Shewry. “It was something my mum made – I have a lot of love and affection for that dish.”

The concept of family and connection runs deep in these menus. The outbreak of COVID-19, and the Federal Government’s recommendations for social distancing, have caused a large number of cancellations at Attica. Where bookings are typically snapped up three months in advance, Shewry says the dining room is operating at 30 per cent of its maximum capacity.

“Staff rely on me; families, including my own rely on me,” he says. “This is the greatest challenge we’ve ever faced but we’re a dynamic business with motivated people. We’re just working our butts off to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape.”

Attica’s dine-in service will continue, though new government regulations mean the restaurant will have to restrict its patronage to 20 diners per sitting. Meanwhile, kitchen staff will be tasked with the dual role of cooking their regular dinner service, as well as the take-home menus. Similarly, front-of-house staff will be delegated to process orders, and home-deliver to customers.

Despite the new world order, Shewry is remaining optimistic about the restaurant’s future. “If there’s a good thing to come out of this, it’s that this is a very creative time for us,” says Shewry. “The forced change of circumstances is driving a lot of creative thinking. And self-determination.”

Attica Bake Shop opens on Tuesday 24 March at 72 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea, Vic.

Open Tue to Sat, 9am-noon, or until sold out.

The Attica Classic menu for two people is available for $95 pick-up, or $110 home-delivered.

Ben Shewry’s family meal for two people is available for $60 for pick-up, or $75 home-delivered.

Orders open 20 March, 5pm. Meals will be available for pick-up or delivery from 24 March. Menu items are subject to change.

For more details, visit

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