9 ultimate gourmet experiences across Australia
Australia is blessed with exceptional food and wine, and equally impressive culinary experiences celebrating the native bounty. Guy Webster reveals nine of the best coast-to-coast gourmet dining offerings to whet your appetite.
Dining amid the dunes
Want stars in your eyes? Dine under dazzling constellations at Tali Wiru’s open-air restaurant in the heart of the Red Centre. Meaning ‘beautiful dune’ in the local Anangu dialect, Tali Wiru features a small cluster of outdoor tables, set for only 20 guests and perched on a ridge with jaw-dropping views of Uluru. The four-course dinner menu, which changes with the seasons and the produce available, might include pressed wallaby with fermented quandong as an entrée; pan-roasted toothfish with coastal greens, desert oak and fermented muntries as a main; and a unique chocolate dessert infused with Davidson plums, lemon myrtle and quandong. Each dish is paired with premium Australian wines.
Tasmania is your oyster
As if staying at Saffire Freycinet isn’t enough of a treat, guests at Tasmania’s most exclusive luxury resort can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime brunch of freshly shucked oysters and sparkling wine at Freycinet Marine Farm. Dressed in waders and warm clothes, guests follow affable guide and farm hand Declan Brown into the chilly waters of the Swan River, where a table is set with crisp white linens and champagne flutes. While you sip, Declan harvests more than two dozen oysters of all shapes and sizes and cracks them open like a pro: the perfect, briny accompaniment to your bubbles.
The Quay to Sydney’s prestige dining
Quay is one of Australia’s most celebrated restaurants. With a well-established reputation for delivering culinary excellence, it is a cornerstone of Australian gourmet dining. In 2018, it underwent a multi-million-dollar refurbishment under the leadership of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer. The re-enlivened space includes volcanic lava stone, stingray patterned divides and blue carpet pools that complement both the spectacular views of the harbour and Peter Gilmore’s nature-inspired cuisine. With a signature blend of innovative cuisine and high-quality produce, Quay has become one of a select few restaurants to be awarded the coveted ‘three hat’ label.
A kerfuffle over truffles
The whimsically named Truffle Kerfuffle Festival returns to Western Australia from 21 to 23 June this year, celebrating one of the world’s most luxurious ingredients: fresh black truffles. Held in the town of Manjimup, around 250 kilometres south of Perth and 150 kilometres east of the Margaret River, this popular event unites everything from truffle-hunting expeditions to tastings, cooking classes and truffle-infused meals conceptualised by an array of world-class chefs.
The toast of Perth
Indulge in a two-night culinary experience that unlocks the best Perth has to offer. Located in the historic heart of the city, COMO The Treasury offers five-star elegance and luxury accommodation. From the hotel, you’ll travel by helicopter to Millbrook Winery, taking in Perth’s signature landmarks and breathtaking beaches on the way. Once you arrive, and you’ve explored one of the largest vineyards in the Perth Hills, you’ll blend your own bottle of wine to take home with you. Then it’s time for an indulgent lunch prepared by Chef of the Year 2017, Guy Jeffreys. Using local produce, Jeffreys creates a culinary experience that changes seasonally, paired with carefully curated wines, of course.
Local flavour with mountains of appeal
Every year, 190 people gather in the foothills of the towering Glass House Mountains for a five-course meal that showcases the best of the Sunshine Coast. Carefully curated by local chef Sean Heyward, this winter feast has a unique local flavour. Starting at noon, in the open air of Yanalla Farms, each course is paired with carefully selected wines to warm you up in the winter weather. But with great conversation and a breathtaking view in between mouth-watering dishes, you’ll have plenty to do to keep warm.
Paddock to plate
With a focus on fresh, organic and wholesome cuisine, the four Three Blue Ducks restaurants and cafes are among the most lauded of their kind in the country. While their city locations in Sydney and Brisbane are always a treat, perhaps the best way to understand their ethos is with a visit to their base in Byron Bay. Here, The Farm is just that: a sprawling patch of idyllic countryside where animals roam freely and horticulturalists tend to organic vegetables and fruit. You can follow in their footsteps and learn about sustainable farming and how various crops are grown before sitting down to a couldn’t-be-fresher meal of just-harvested produce in the breezy dining room.
The art of hospitality
The ultra-luxe Park Hyatt Sydney hotel perfects the practice of fine dining with its Table 100 culinary experience. Offering framed views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House, The Dining Room blurs the line between art, theatre and exceptional food through this three-course meal created by executive chef Etienne Karner in partnership with pastry chef Shlomi Palensya. The experience culminates with a memorable Chef’s Dessert Table, where Shlomi’s sweet treats are almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Reach for the sky
This high-flying, half-day gourmet experience with Truenorth Helicopters will have you on cloud nine in the Snowy Mountains of NSW. Departing from Tumut Heliport, the Country Escape whisks guests on a scenic flight over orchards and vineyards to the award-winning Courabyra Wines estate for a private cellar-door tour, wine-and-cheese tasting and a three-course lunch with panoramic mountain views. Return home – with a complimentary bottle of wine – on another eye-opening flight over the dams of the Snowy Mountains.
This article originally appeared in volume 33 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.