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Miznon

My love for Miznon needs no introduction. Ever since my very first visit, I have been absolutely smitten with this powerhouse of Israeli street food – a love that’s only grown with (many) subsequent visits. I just can’t get enough of their pillowy pitas, packed full of scrumptious ingredients, and their amazing take on fresh produce – whole head of roasted cauliflower anyone? And let’s not even let me near the self-serve station of tahini, pickles, and pita. So it goes without saying that I was absolutely delighted when Miznon released a brand-new dinner menu, taking their ingredients out of the pita pockets (though you can still get one if you want to!), and plating them up to share.

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Osteria Ilaria

Rarely has a restaurant impressed me on the first visit the way Tipo00 did. Their meticulously hand-crafted pasta dishes were melt-in-the-mouth scrumptious, and each subsequent visit has been similarly astounding, and well worth the ridiculous wait times. So when the geniuses behind Tipo opened Osteria Ilaria a couple years later, all of Melbourne were waiting with bated breath to see if it lived up to its reputation. As it turns out, we needn’t have worried. Following Tipo’s example, Osteria Ilaria soon snapped up another Best New Restaurant of the Year Award, with accolades coming out of its ears, and queues extending down the street. But unlike Tipo, Osteria Ilaria is not a quaint little pasta bar. Hot on the tail…

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Minamishima

One of the best sushi experiences I’ve ever had was at a 100 yen sushi train in Japan, down the road from the hotel we stayed at in the Shibuya. It wasn’t so much that the sushi was wildly inventive or unique – in fact it was far from it, as what each pair of nigiri amounted to was a slice of fish, draped over a nugget of rice with a daub of wasabi. What made the meal memorable was the amount of care the chefs so clearly placed into each morsel, and the absolute freshness of the seafood. As I sat in the small, cramped, and utilitarian space under an old apartment block, I was simply astounded by the…

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Miznon

As much as I love George Calombaris (at least up until the whole scandal with him underpaying his staff), I had to admit that celebrity chefs are not exactly my cup of tea. Although I’m sure it’s not always the case, often it feels as if the only chefs that end up as celebrities are the ones who spend more time selling their brand, rather than cooking. So you have to understand my mixture of apprehension when I first heard earlier this year that Miznon was going to make an appearance in our very own Hardware Lane.

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San Telmo

I had a terrible lapse in judgement a few years back, when I decided to have my first proper steak at Rockpool Bar and Grill. Unsurprisingly, that meal sort of ruined all future steaks for me; although I’ve had some decent cuts of meat here and there since, it just doesn’t compare to the dry-aged, 9+ marble score David Blackmore wagyu served up at Rockpool. With that said however, I’ve always heard that San Telmo does some bang-up steak, being an Argentinean restaurant and all. First impressions certainly cemented that fact – the dining room was old-school masculine, with ample amounts of leather and marble, and cow hides adorning the walls. The whole place just screams steak really.

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Attica

Well it took almost a whole three years, but I finally made it – Attica. We braved the vicious three-months-in-advance booking system – multiple times – and finally landed the prime spot of 6pm on a Saturday night. If you didn’t know about Attica – best restaurant in Australia, and 32nd in the world – you’d be roundly excused for not thinking very much of it at all. Located in the sleepy Melbourne suburb of Ripponlea behind a nondescript brick facade, Attica looks very much like a local bistro.

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