Curtis Stone’s top foodie experiences
One of Australia’s most celebrated chefs, Curtis Stone, shares his top food experiences from around the country.
By Stephanie Squadrito
Australia has so many unique food and wine experiences to enjoy. Curtis Stone’s interest in the Australian dining scene began when he was young, and he’s since worked his way from a kitchen apprentice to restaurateur and media personality.
From experimental beers to unique fine dining, Curtis Stone offers his top food experiences you won’t want to miss.
"Australians are very individual and want to do things our own way. Even in how we produce our food and drink."
Delight your taste buds with native flavours
Fine dining meets bush food at Attica
Melbourne restaurant Attica embraces Australia’s overlooked native ingredients and cuisines. You won’t likely see beef or pork on the menu here, but rather head chef Ben Shewry uses distinctly Australian proteins such as wallaby and marron (a species of crayfish). The three-hatted (hats are the Australian equivalent of Michelin stars) restaurant has previously been featured in the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, so bookings are highly recommended. According to Stone, Attica offers “a meal of discovery that touches a little on tradition, and plays around with beautiful Aussie ingredients you don't find anywhere else.”
A one-of-a-kind degustation at Fervor
Founded by chef Paul ‘Yoda’ Iskov in 2013, Fervor offers a unique pop-up dining experience. The roving restaurant tours Western Australia with a one-of-a-kind degustation menu that explores traditional Australian foods. Stone credits Iskov with teaching him about native ingredients, and you can taste these ingredients — from catfish to boab tubers — in the unusual dishes offered at Fervor.
Experience city dining highlights
Taste multicultural flavours
Arguably the foodie capital of Australia, Melbourne is home to some of the nation’s most exciting restaurants. If you’re after Mediterranean flavours, head to Greek restaurant Jimmy Grants, which pays homage to Australia’s immigrant history. For Pan-Asian cuisine, visit chef Andrew McConnell’s Supernormal. Stone describes the menu as “breaking lots of rules, but everything is super delicious”. McConnell’s other two restaurants, Cumulus and Cutler & Co, are also definitely worth a taste.
Dine on the waterfront
Sydney is blessed with a beautiful coastline and picturesque harbour, making it a prime spot for seaside dining. Take in the views as you taste delicious dishes at some of the city’s premier locations. Stone recommends booking in at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar overlooking Bondi Beach, Quay near the Opera House, or Catalina at Rose Bay, where the food is just as good as the view.
Explore Australia's dynamic drinks
Drink experimental craft beers
With over 500 small breweries across the country, it’s safe to say Australia has enjoyed a craft beer boom in recent years. Among these breweries, many are doing things differently by incorporating uniquely Australian ingredients into their tipples. Try the Native Ale from Endeavor, which uses native finger lime, lemon myrtle and Davidson plum to create a citrusy flavour. Stone also highlights Honest Ale, a one-of-a-kind brewery producing its beer with ocean water, as an experimental standout.
Sip on innovative wines
Australians have traditionally used French techniques when it comes to the wine-making process, but in recent years a localised style has emerged. In Australia’s most prolific wine regions, like New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, Western Australia’s Margaret River and Victoria’s Yarra Valley, there is a great diversity of wines being produced, from aromatic cabernet sauvignons to tasty chardonnays. But it’s not just these well-known areas to look out for; according to Stone, wineries in Tasmania are producing some delicious sparkling wines that “rival great, great vintages of Champagne.”
Eat and drink like a local
Experience an al fresco barbecue
Going to a barbecue – whether it’s at home, a park, or a beach – is one of Australia’s long-standing social traditions. It’s a time for family and friends to come together to share a meal and socialise. The menu generally consists of sausages, steaks, salads and bread rolls accompanied by great beer and wine. It’s a way to enjoy delicious food in Australia’s great outdoors. While barbecues are best in summer – particularly on Australia Day – they’re perfect any day of the year when the sun is shining.
Dine amongst locals at a pub
Mealtime in Australia isn’t always about fine dining or rare ingredients. If you want to experience dinner like a local, head to a pub – you’re bound to find one in almost any neighbourhood. Great pubs are a dime a dozen across the country, but Stone recommends visiting one in a rural region for the best experience. Head to the iconic Birdsville Hotel in central Queensland, or the renowned Prairie Hotel in South Australia for a memorable night. A “parma and a pot” – otherwise known as a chicken parmigiana and a beer – is the classic order here.