Set in the quiet suburb of Ripponlea, Attica’s unassuming exterior would have punters walking by without a second take. However, for those savvy and in the know, can only dream of what’s being served up inside.
Ben Shewry, the Kiwi-born head chef has been with Attica since its humble beginnings. You may have seen some of Shewry’s creations via the Netflix Original, ‘’Chefs Table’’, which showcases some of the best chefs and their restaurants.
Attica was recently crowned 20th in the world by the Worlds 50 Best Restaurants , a global competition ranking the top restaurants on the planet. It’s the only Australian restaurant which makes the cut; and it’s no small feat, especially when you’re sharing the leaderboard with heavyweights like Osteria Francescana, Eleven Maddison and Gaggan.
Ben pays homage to Australia’s native flora and fauna. Each dish is thoughtfully prepared, meticulously plated and incredibly tasty. Many of the ingredients featured were some you would never think of eating, like green ants that are native to South Australia and handpicked by indigenous women. It’s extremely important for Ben to showcase Australia’s unique produce, and shine the global light on the food Australia has on offer.
Courses 1 – 9
The sitting starts with a more informal affair; no cutlery needed. Everything is meant to be eaten with your hands, a playful take on ”fine dining”. The courses come out rapidly, almost instantly after you’ve finished the last dish. Most are bite-sized and vary in taste and texture. Our favourites were the ”Chewy Carrots” and ”Happy Little Vegemite’s” – a throwback for many Aussies.
After the ”entrees” are finished, larger dishes start rolling through. Opening with a Hand Picked crab from Byron Bay, it sets the mood for what’s about to unleash. With the meals coming out slower, there’s more time to chat, laugh and ponder. Our standout dish was the signature Marron with Desert Lime XO, similar to crayfish.
After dish 13, our waiter politely asked us to take our drinks and come on a tour. When we reached our destination, we were taken back: a backyard BBQ! Could you get any more Australian?
‘’We’ve got a huge Greek population, so we’d like to pay homage to this part of our Australian culture,’’ explains our waiter.
The smell was inundating, as an 8-hour slow-cooked lamb turns on the spit, with homemade bread cooked on coals and pickled condiments to accompany. Utterly delicious!
After the backyard BBQ, it was time to head back inside for arguably the best part of the sitting: desert. Our favourite was the Black Ant Lamington, which was the star dish of the evening.
While a dining experience at Attica is by no means cheap, it is an unforgettable experience and certainly worthy of the best restaurant in Australia; and its top 20 crown worldwide.
If you’re thinking of nabbing a table, bookings open at 9am Melbourne time on the first Wednesday of each month, for three months in advance. Click here to find out more.