Melburnians have high standards when it comes to dining, and that doesn't waver once they head to the Australian Open each year. Luckily the grand slam event surpasses these expectations year after year, and Australian Open 2024 is yet again set to serve ace eats.
Tom Sarafian will transform brunch into a must-do at Bar Atrium with a three-course meze spread, inspired by his most recent trip to Lebanon. Think fresh and pickled summer vegetables, labne, hummus, baba ghanoush, za'atar manakish, followed by a choice of fatteh; ful medames and fried eggs with awarma; followed by sweets to share. "It's the perfect opportunity to show how incredible these dishes are," says Sarafian.
He'll also look after the night menu, from which he's most excited to cook a basturma (Armenian cured spiced beef) toast dish. "It's definitely the closest to my heart. I grill seeded sourdough then liberally spread with fresh goat's curd, and season with tarragon, chives and dill, then top with marinated barbecued red bullhorn peppers and thinly sliced basturma," says Sarafian.
Making its Australian Open food program debut is the AO Courtside Bar – where punters can enjoy open-air-front-row seats, all while snacking on bar bites by Sydney chef Joel Bennetts from Bondi Beach's Fish Shop. Bennetts will fly down from Sydney for the tournament, where he's most excited to showcase his beloved prawn roll.
There will also be Lygon Street Italian taking some of Melbourne's most-loved Italian eateries and placing them in Garden Square; and First Nations business Uncle Charlie's will be crafting a native food and botanicals-flavoured popcorn. Come hungry, leave satiated and served.
The Australian Open runs from January 14-28, ausopen.com