Attica, the Boy would like you to know, was his first choice before I decided to cancel and opt for Cutler & Co instead.
So you can imagine how annoyed he was, when Attica made it to the top 100 at No.73 at this year's S.Pelligrino's Best Restaurants list.
Because we went on a mid-week (Wednesday night), we had a choice to go with either the 5 course menu or the 8 course degustation menu (it was pretty obvious which way we would be treading...)
We arrived at 7pm and were the third table to be seated... service was excellent and everyone was all smiles (including the chef's that peeked through occasionally from the window that displayed the bong-like machine)
We were given a choice of sourdough or multigrain bread with emulsified smoked olive oil with dried olive skin and home-made butter (and pink sea salt!)
To begin the extraordinary journey into the mind of Ben Shewry, we were started off with 2 complimentary dishes.
(Distiller/ Flavour enhancer/ Evaporator thingamajig)
A tri-coloured carrot appertiser with Tasmanian Cheddar Cheese with Carrot juice topped with leaves of the top of the carrot and crushed walnuts
Next was a clear broth of smoked cuttlefish with shitake mushrooms (and either purslane flowers or chrysanthemum flowers, I can't remember!)
The first "official" dish of our 8 course was the Snow Crab. Topped with horseradish snow to represent Mr. Ben Shewry's childhood growing up with a view of Mt Taranaki (in New Zealand), trout roe (to represent the volcana eruptions), and frozen verjuice granita for the ice effect.
This dish was all about textures, and indeed, when one were to close one's eyes, and bite into the trout roe, you can really here the explosions that represent the volcano erupting.
Next up was the Young Snow peas cooked in own juices (in the previous distiller machine thing), with toasted wheat grains and fromage blanc.
This dish was really all about the natural flavour of peas. I'm not a huge fan of peas (I'm the sort that picks them out pedantically), and yet I ate them all and wanted more...
Next up was a simple dish of potato cooked in the earth it was grown in. Cooked in a traditional way of burying it in the earth and cooking it for 8 hours, the potato was soft and tender and topped with goat curd, cured tuna (from Japan) and coffee granules.
I couldn't find the words to describe this dish, so I'll just use the one I overheard from the couple seated next to us,
"Most awesome potato I've ever smelled. It's astonishing! Simply Astonishing!"
Bass groper (from the southern seas around New Zealand) with buttered alonds, olive oil garlic, candied lemon, chorizo stock and locally plucked wild Rosemary flowers.
The fish was cooked via the sous vide method (water bath) and was succulent and juicy all at once without being overcooked.
Then we had squab, and I had to stop the waitress to ask her what a squab was... "Pigeon!", she replied...
It came served with beetroot puree, licorice, bitter (burnt) onion, tempura onions and celery sticks.
The squab was suprisingly tender (very red meat-like) and delicious. The licorice complimented the dish really well and became my instant favourite dish of the night!
To my normal readers *waves*, you will now know that I don't eat beef, so for my option, I had a medium rare lamb rump, cooked with artichoke, kohl rabi, soured sheeps milk, hazelnuts and a sliced daikon (this was a variation from the Vegetarian tasting menu)
The Boy had the Black Angus (grain fed), served with seagrass, white cabbage, potato sticks, prawn floss and toasted black sesame puree
For a better picture of the Terroir, go to the Attica website ;) It's worth the visit just for this dish!
This (apart from my squab) was THE dish of the night... Freeze dried, frozen and fresh raspberries, vanilla cubes, avocado, frozen kiwi, fromage topped with clover leaves, this was another amazing creation meant to tease and challenge the taste buds.
The man himself, Ben Shewry, hard at work making creations in the kitchen... (the view for most of my night *glee*)
For the last dish, I had seen Ben coming out of the kitchen in a mini procession, whereby he would introduce the dish and top it up with apple crumble... and that was my greatest anticipation of the night!
Imagine then, to my dismay, when the table seated next to us, did NOT get Ben to introduce the final dish (but instead a very good looking chef did the honours instead)...
(Pink lady apples, olive, warm shredded wheat, apple skin and crumble)
I must have looked pretty crestfalled, as the Maitre' D (a very nice lady, Camm wasn't around?), came to check on me and to assure me that my dessert was coming out soon!... and I proclaimed (rather cheekily, to which the Boy was making fun at me)... if Ben was coming out to serve it himself... she said she'd check and hurriedly went back into the kitchen (my guess, to make some requests)...
And lo and behold, the man came out himself and Thanked us for coming!... Such humbleness from such genius... truly a spectacular end to a fabulous meal...
Complimentary chocolates (very rich and dark!)
The night didn't end there, once we paid and were on our way to the door, one of our waitress, raced to the front door to put on my jacket for me... it was quite funny, but service was really exceptional...
I'll definitely be back to try the Violet Crumble (on the vegetarian menu or by requests)
*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality
Food/ Cuisine: Contemporary
Overall Food Rating: 9/10
Restaurant ambiance: 8/10
Service/ Attitude: 8.5/10 (NEW RATING FEATURE!!!)
Value for money: 8/10
74 Glen Eira Road
Ripponlea VIC 3185
Tel:(03) 9530 0111
Attica is open
Tuesday - Saturday
6pm - late
How to get there:
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