I just wanted to take the time to thank the board for all of the wonderful guidance. My husband and I just returned from our trip to Australia and based on the recommendations of this board we had some wonderful meals.
Our trip originated in Sydney, the first day we arrived at 6am and checked in to Lord Nelson then headed for the Zoo. By the late afternoon the jet trip had caught up with us. Instead of a formal sit down dinner we caught some excellent and inexpensive falafel pitas around the corner from a nearby take away store.
The following night was our only disappointing meal of the trip. Since we were not staying on the water we wanted to have at least one meal with a wonderful view of the harbor. In this department we were not let down. We ate at Quay. The service left much to be desired, so much so that it took away anything exceptional the food could have offered. Courses seemed to come out with little thought to timing and portions were too large for a multi-course meal. Further, though the menu sounded interesting the flavors came off as uninspired. In any case, we would not recommend this establishment unless the view is enough to compensate (unless they were just having an "off" night).
From this evening the food picked up! Following Quay we enjoyed:
Spice I Am
Bird Cow Fish
Pizza Birra (we had intended on Oscillate Wildly however we forgot that it was closed on the night we wanted to venture out)
We also went out to the Blue Mountains (it snowed which was a definate treat for Floridians) and then attempted to eat at Vulcan's for lunch. We went up the line to Blackheath but decided to pass on the menu that day and found a nice little Indian establishment instead.
While in Sydney I met up with a local photographer for some private lessons and he turned out to have a wealth of food information as well.
Alfonso Calero Photography
Folio Website: www.alfonso.com.au
His business incorporates food photography so he was kind enough to take us to a small take away stand for some wonderful Vietnamese Rolls for lunch. The shredded pork roll was excellent and by far the most inexpensive meal of our trip. From there we headed to a cafe which turned out the most balanced flat white I had the whole trip. I must say, until I experienced Australian quality coffee brewing I had no clue what I was missing! Flat Whites became a quick favorite, I am not sure I will ever be able to go back to drinking bland drip coffee.
We then headed out to Uluru for a few days. While the food was expensive and certainly not 5 star we had a wonderful time at the Outback Pioneer BBQ grilling our own dinner together. So much so that we went to the small grocery store that following morning (after sunrise photos of Uluru) and bought everything to make great pancakes in the kitchen available to the guests. It was fun to have the challenge of working together and making due with what you had. It definitely made us both appreciative of the ease of our well equipped kitchen!
We then headed to the Mornington peninsula, staying at the Morningstar Estate and vineyards. Here we enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere at many of the cellar doors. While we intended to have dinner at Montalto the first evening, plane delays prevented this adventure. Instead we ate at the Estate we were pleasantly surprised. Great winter menu without being heavy, attentive staff.
While here we enjoyed a meal at
Paringa Estate Restaurant
We also planned to eat at Jill's Moorduc, but we found them closed when we drove out. The owner was kind enough to point us in the direction of a small Japanese eatery, whose menu looked great BUT was closed that evening as well... so we headed back to Morningstar and broke our rule (we try never to repeat venue while on a trip) to have another excellent meal.
From Mornington we ended our trip in Melbourne. The day we arrived we were happy to catch the 2008 Melbourne Specialist Cheese Show, which was brought to our attention by Red Hill Cheese (VIC) which we visited while in Mornington. We had a great time. I also found Mount Zero Blonde Kalamata Olives to be a delicious treat! http://www.mountzeroolives.com/
The first evening we ate at Movida. The following night was Ginger Boy and then we closed with Attica ( www.attica.com.au ). Attica was exceptional. By far the best meal of the trip. We were out on a Tuesday night and for $69AUD the five course chef's table was excellent! It was well worth the train ride out!
When we flew home, connecting in LA to our delight we realized that we had a 5 hour layover which allowed the perfect window to cap the trip off with an unplanned taxi ride to In N Out for a double double animal style ;).
Thanks again for all of the wonderful recommendations.
Ami and Jordan