Nobu, Southbank

Nobu Matsuhisa’s first restaurant in the USA was located in Alaska and went up in flames after just weeks of trading. It’s fair to say that things have only improved since then. Nine years after his ‘Bombe Alaska’ (yep, I went there!), Nobu opened a Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant in Beverly Hills and soon became one of the world’s first celebrity chefs. There are now 22 Nobu restaurants around the world, including one in Melbourne which opened in 2007 at Crown Casino.

Nobu

Nobu

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L’ATELIER de Joel Robuchon, Central, Hong Kong

I first came across the name Joel Robuchon when reading the excellent book Garlic & Sapphires by Ruth Reichl (still my all time favourite foodie book) and first tried one of his restaurants in Taiwan a few years ago. The food was exquisite, so when I was in Hong Kong earlier in the year, it was pretty much a given that we would make a trip to Robuchon’s L’Atelier in Central.

The restaurant is located in The Landmark shopping centre and on arriving at the reception area via escalator, it feels as though you are entering another world. The atmosphere is dark – dark carpet, dark walls, dark tables – so when you are led into the dining area, you are almost blinded by the light emanating from the magnificent open kitchen that dominates the space. Most diners are seated at the bar around the kitchen, which gives you a great view for people and chef-watching.

L'ATELIER de Joel Robuchon

L’ATELIER de Joel Robuchon

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Bistro Vue, Melbourne CBD

Something I loved when visiting Paris was the ability to walk into just about any street-side bistro or cafe and have wonderful food. As a lover of French food, this was heaven. In Australia, quality French restaurants are harder to find, however Bistro Vue is a worthy contender. The mid-level alternative in Shannon Bennett’s restaurant empire, Bistro Vue serves up classic French cuisine with a modern Australian twist. The interior has a provincial-France feel, with its rustic wooden tables and velvet seating; and is far larger than I expected.

Bistro Vue

Bistro Vue

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Pure South Dining, Southbank

I’ve walked up and down the Southbank promenade a number of times but I’d never really noticed Pure South Dining. After one visit, I can tell you that I will not overlook it again. Flying in on a Friday night from Sydney, it was close to 9pm by the time we checked into our hotel in Melbourne. Feeling somewhat peckish, but not ravenous, we went in search of a quick bite to eat and fortunately stumbled upon Pure South which was round the corner from our hotel.

Pure South Dining has made a name for itself by sourcing all of its produce from Tasmania, building relationships with specialist growers and producers. Menus change regularly to reflect the seasons and availability of produce; and this attention to detail and respect for the produce is definitely reflected in the dishes served in the restaurant.

Pure South Dining

Pure South Dining

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