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Salt Cured Red Kangaroo with Bunya Bunya | Courtesy of Attica
Salt Cured Red Kangaroo with Bunya Bunya | Courtesy of Attica

Where To Sample Native Australian Ingredients In Melbourne

Picture of Monique La Terra
Updated: 22 September 2016
With an abundance of native Australian ingredients on their doorstep, Melbourne chefs have taken the opportunity to challenge people’s perception on Indigenous cuisine. With menus incorporating ingredients like wattleseed, lemon myrtle, finger limes and quandong as well as game meats such as wallaby, crocodile, emu and kangaroo, Melburnians have the chance to broaden their palates if they keep an open mind. Here are five restaurants where you can sample native bush tucker.

Charcoal Lane

Charcoal Lane is a social enterprise by Mission Australia that provides mentoring and support to young, vulnerable Australians – many of whom are Aboriginal. Following a curriculum of hospitality skills devised by Executive Chef Greg Hampton, the trainees receive guidance aimed at enforcing independence and long-term confidence. Together with Hampton, the diverse group prepares contemporary Australian meals which champion native ingredients. Highlights from the menu include macadamia and wattleseed crusted wallaby, roasted emu fillet with quandong and witlof, paperbark-wrapped seasonal vegetables and the lemon myrtle tiramisu.

Charcoal Lane, 136 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy VIC, Australia, +61 3 9418 3400

Altair

Boarded by the Yarra River, Altair in Warrandyte is a contemporary restaurant that serves long lunches and intimate dinners in addition to their hearty weekend breakfast. The refined menu, complemented by their wine selection, includes confit abalone with taro, toasted seaweed, ginseng, and kangaroo tail consommé; beef tartare with Warrigal green, wattleseed, native fruits, macadamia, and Kakadu plum; and preserved river trout with saltbush kimchi, sunchoke, roe, and fermented pepper.

Altair, 152 Yarra Street Warrandyte VIC, Australia, +61 3 9844 5548

Courtsey Altair Restaurant

Courtsey of Altair Restaurant

Gypsey and Musquito

The legend of two bushrangers – Musquito, an Aboriginal, and his British mate Gypsey, who fought for Indigenous rights in Van Diemen’s Land – lives on in Bridge Road where Kirrily Stewart and local chef Anna Ingle have created a café which celebrates native produce. Tuck into a bushranger brunch at the homely café fit with flea market furniture and timber countertops. On the menu, you’ll find a native-inspired granola with wattleseed and bush berries and a selection of sausages including crocodile, emu, camel and wallaby. There is also a selection of Daintree leaf teas to finish off your meal.

Gypsey and Musquito, 382 Bridge Road Richmond VIC, Australia, +61 3 9939 9314

Epic breakfast.

A photo posted by Simmy Catalaya (@catalayasimmy) on

Attica

Often named as one of the best restaurants in Australia, complete with multiple accolades and the honour of three hats, Ben Shewry’s Attica delivers evocative cuisine with an eco-friendly conscience. Inspired by the diverse landscape of the Taranaki region of New Zealand as well as native Australia, Shewry’s menu echoes the earthiness of volcanos, the purity of rivers, the unpredictable ocean, and the bush. Sample salted red kangaroo and bunya bunya, emu’s egg, wallaby blood pikelet and wattleseed bread, and for dessert, try Gazza’s Vegemite pie.

Attica, 74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea VIC, Australia, +61 3 9530 0111

Salt Cured Red Kangaroo with Bunya Bunya Courtesy of Attica

Salt Cured Red Kangaroo with Bunya Bunya | Courtesy of Attica

Vue de Monde

The name may be French, but Shannon Bennett’s menu at Vue de Monde incorporates native produce into a fine-dining experience, accentuating local ingredients traditionally used by the Indigenous. The ever-changing menu has featured black lip abalone with hen’s egg yolk and fumet blanc; poached barramundi with turnip dashi; Davidson plum with flowers and herbs; roo on charcoal with beets; and emu and wallaby jerky. Vue de Monde encompasses classical European cuisine while referencing native ingredients and does so sustainably.

Vue de Monde, 55, Rialto Towers, 525 Collins St, Melbourne VIC, Australia, +61 3 9691 3888