Ben Shewry, Attica, Melbourne, Victoria
The most acclaimed dining room in Australia has just reopened – here’s what to expect at Attica version 2.0.
By Paul Chai
Published: 15 March, 2017
For the past few years, the tables at Attica, by internationally acclaimed chef Ben Shewry, have been the most desired in Australia. Shewry’s innovative, imaginative plates are often credited with revolutionising global attitudes to Australian ingredients such as native succulents and spices, and Attica is listed at No.33 on the 2016 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Next month, for the first time, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants celebration will be held outside London and New York. It will be in Melbourne, and an all-new Attica restaurant will be waiting.
AUSTRALIA’S TOP TABLE GETS AN OVERHAUL
Shewry only took full ownership of Attica – in the Melbourne suburb of Ripponlea – last year, but he’s certainly not resting on his laurels. Shewry announced in February that he was closing the restaurant for a complete makeover. “It is something that I have wanted to do from the moment we took ownership of the restaurant,” he says. “This also coincided with the timing of being introduced to our architect Iva Foschia by our mutual close friend, [Melbourne chef] Andrew McConnell. I needed an architect who could see my vision for cooking and food and realise that with a design for the space. We wanted an iconic Australian design and no bad tables – those were my only two stipulations.”
WHAT CAN GUESTS EXPECT FROM THE NEW ATTICA?
So what, exactly, has been overhauled at Attica? “In the dining room, absolutely everything,” Shewry says. “Nothing has been retained. Not a piece of furniture, colour or fitting. It is completely regenerated and reengineered.”
The menu has been gently shaken up, too. “There are quite a few menu changes coming up. But they are more just the course of our general development within our cooking.”
THE WORLD’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS COMES TO MELBOURNE
In April the World’s 50 Best Restaurants – sometimes referred to as the Olympic Games of food – will roll into Melbourne. It is the first time in the awards’ 14-year history that they have been hosted outside New York or London, putting Melbourne in some serious company when it comes to foodie cities. Shewry will once again be hoping for a place on the awards list. “It was a huge help being on the list in the early days and I am humbled every year since by the recognition that we have been voted for by our peers,” he says.
Though the awards ceremony is for the industry only, visitors to Melbourne and Sydney will be able to attend a series of talks by the finest chefs in the world, including Gaggan Anand, who took the No.1 spot in the 2016 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards for his modern-Indian diner Gaggan.
MELBOURNE FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has been timed to coincide with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (30 March-9 April). At the festival’s River Graze more than 20 food outlets will transform Melbourne’s Yarra River into the ultimate foodie pop-up. You can also be part of the World’s Longest Lunch, or attend masterclasses by some of the chefs on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. The festival is in its 25th year is a great way to experience Melbourne’s food scene.
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