Victoria’s best kept food secrets

Melbourne has a reputation for fabulous bars and creative cuisine, but it’s the city’s hidden secrets that give Melbourne its unique appeal. Some of the best eating and drinking is often the hardest to find, in and around the city’s narrow interconnected laneways, in the subterranean basements and on the rooftops. Food secrets can also be discovered in the neighbourhood ‘eat streets’ and in the surrounding regions, which are brimming with artisan producers, innovative wine makers and chefs. There is a never-ending sense of surprise when it comes to unearthing Victoria’s food and wine secrets, so let’s dig in! Victoria’s best kept food secrets
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Victoria’s best kept food secrets

Melbourne is the ultimate city of discovery, where half the fun is in finding the latest and greatest food delights


Melbourne has a reputation for fabulous bars and creative cuisine, but it’s the city’s hidden secrets that give Melbourne its unique appeal. Some of the best eating and drinking is often the hardest to find, in and around the city’s narrow interconnected laneways, in the subterranean basements and on the rooftops. Food secrets can also be discovered in the neighbourhood ‘eat streets’ and in the surrounding regions, which are brimming with artisan producers, innovative wine makers and chefs. There is a never-ending sense of surprise when it comes to unearthing Victoria’s food and wine secrets, so let’s dig in!

The Everleigh, Melbourne, VIC

Exploring Melbourne’s labyrinth of laneways

By venturing off the beaten path, stepping through that inconspicuous door, heading up or down the stairs or following the locals, the adventurous are rewarded. The city’s labyrinth of laneways, restored art deco buildings and distinctive neighbourhoods invite and reward curiosity.

Often squeezed into seemingly unusable spaces, Melbourne’s urban life is best experienced by seeking out the many rooftop bars, speakeasy cocktail lounges hidden behind unmarked doors, specialist coffee, tea, chocolate and dessert cafes and inner-city provedores offering the best produce from around regional Victoria.

Spring Street Grocer’s casual gelataria façade discloses little about the world-class cheese cellar concealed beneath. Cult dumpling house Shandong Mama and Tokyo style Japanese restaurant

Yu-u, located in an underground bunker off a side alley, are equally challenging locations to find.

And Melbourne was the perfect candidate for the speakeasy style cocktail bar trend that arrived in Melbourne a few years ago. Those lucky enough to find Eau de Vie are transported directly into an episode of Boardwalk Empire, and a similar vibe can be found at The Everleigh, in Fitzroy, which was named the best cocktail bar in Australia. 

Brae, Birregurra, VIC

Victoria’s regional food and wine scene

Rich in produce, speciality wine regions, diverse landscapes, innovative chefs and producers, regional Victoria also provides an unparalleled depth and diversity of secrets to uncover.

Less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the picturesque Yarra Valley is home to more than 80 wineries, 60 cellar doors and a selection of craft breweries and distilleries, including tenth generation winemaker Dominique Portet through to new-wave artisan gin distiller Four Pillars. This heady offering is completed by a myriad of restaurants and gourmet produce.

In the north east of Victoria, tucked away in an old Beechworth bank built during the height of the gold rush in 1856, is award-winning regional restaurant Provenance, with an exciting menu that showcases the best of the local produce and incorporates both seasonal and Japanese influences.

South of Beechworth is the King Valley’s Prosecco Road, where six Italian families across three generations have nurtured the land to produce beautiful Prosecco wines amongst other varietals, and Italian-inspired produce. Pedal to Produce trails, Hedonistic Hiking tours and local cooking schools help visitors discover some of the region’s many farm-gates, cellar doors and culinary experiences. As a gourmet region not yet on the radar for most international visitors, it’s a secret worth exploring.

South-west of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road region comprises the produce rich areas of the Bellarine Peninsula, the Otway Ranges, fertile hinterlands and coastal villages. Treats abound with Otway Forest Shitake growing its rare produce on eucalyptus logs in the verdant hinterland and truffles to be found in the forests.

The region is also home to communities of innovative producers making artisan cheeses, whisky and more. This local’s secret may soon be in the international spotlight with the opening of Brae, ex Royal Mail chef Dan Hunter’s new regional dining establishment come hobby farm near the small Otways township of Birregurra – a truly unique combination of one of Australia’s most iconic drives and top destination dining experiences. 

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