May has become one of the most exciting months of Australia’s culinary calendar thanks to the massive dining program that aims to celebrate The Australian Financial Review’s Australia’s Top Restaurants presented by Qantas, highlighting the best of the best with exclusive events and special offers in each state set to showcase what makes this country’s dining scene one of the best, and most diverse, in the world. We have gone through the stacked program for each state and bring you five (or less) of our top picks for each state for you to get across now that the program is in full swing! For a full list of the top 100 restaurants click HERE
Only two restaurants are participating from Canberra this year, but both are excellent options!
Contemporary Japanese restaurant Lilotang will be offering up a deal via which guests can explore their rich beer, champagne, cocktail, and sake menu, while pairing it all up with their popular bar dishes like chicken and pork belly yakitori, octopus with potato, and yuzu kosho.
Where: 1 Burbury Close, Barton, ACT 2600
Cost: $35 – $95. $95 includes matched sake or Japanese beer
When: May 5-7, 12-14, 19-21; 6pm-11pm
Bookings: 02 6273 1424
Lanterne Rooms (Campbell)
The special going on here is a celebration of the herbs and spices oft used in Asian cooking, offering up an adventurous menu that features everything from India’s spiced lentil balls to Thailand’s tom-yum infused prawns.
Where: 3 Blamey Place, Campbell, ACT 2612
Cost: $85. includes drinks
When: May 5-6, 11-13, 19-20; 6pm-10.30pm
Bookings: 02 6249 6889
Icebergs Dining Room & Bar (Bondi)
This Bondi icon will be hosting a special Black Tie Dinner for one night only, blending together good Jazz music (by leading musician Vince Jones and his quartet) with Pinot and a handcrafted 4 course dinner that has been designed by Head Chef Monty Koludrovic.
Where: 1 Notts Ave, Bondi, NSW 2026
Cost: $250. pp plus booking fee
When: May 12; 6.30pm-11pm
Pei Modern (The Rocks)
Mark Best and Joachim Borenius have been doing some incredible things for Pei Modern lately, and that standard will be continuing throughout May as they bring back their popular “Eat + Pei + Quick” menu which focuses on different seasonal ingredients each week of the month. The kitchen team has built four weekly quick-lunch menus to highlight this speedy dining concept, on offer daily except Sat and Sun throughout May.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, 199 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Cost: $39 – $49. $39 includes 2 courses and coffee, $49 includes 3 courses and coffee
When: May 3-9, 10-13, 16-20, 23 12pm-3pm
Bookings: 02 9250 3160
There has been no shortage of love around Sydney for Silvereye, not only from Vegetarians, but discerning diners in general as Chef Sam Miller keeps coming up with ways to use preserving, pickling, and fermenting to present vegetables and fresh produce in inventive ways. For this special event, Miller will be designing a ten-course menu around one Autumn ingredients, with the rest of the dish devoted to summer preserves.
Where: 20 Broadway, Chippendale, NSW 2008
Cost: $150. with matched drinks $95 extra; with matched juices $60 extra
When: May 10; 6.30pm-11pm
Ormeggio at the Spit (Mosman)
This acclaimed North Shore restaurant will be looking closely at wine from Franciacorta in Lombardy, particularly DOCG Wine (Italy’s answer to Champagne). Chef Alessandro Pavoni will be serving a five-course degustation from different Italian regions to match with five of these Franciacorta wines.
Where: D’Albora Marinas, The Spit, Mosman, NSW 2088
Cost: $135. includes matched Franciacorta sparkling wines
When: May 18; 6pm-10pm
Bookings: 02 9969 4088
Glass Brasserie (CBD)
Some of Sydney’s key food critics – Terry Durack, Jill Dupleix, Myffy Rigby, Callan Boys and Ardyn Bernoth – will be heading on over to the other side of the kitchen at this special event at the highly praised Glass Brasserie, designing dishes to be judged by the likes of Luke Magnan and Joe Pavlovich as well as Russ Lusted (Bridge Room) and Anthony Puharich (Victor Churchill). A ticket will get you a spot on the dining side of things, of course, with a four-course menu and matching wines (and trust us, Glass have some incredible wines).
Where: Level 2, 488 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Cost: $125. includes matched wines
When: May 3; 6.30pm
Bookings: 02 9265 6068
The Pearl (Darwin)
There is only one restaurant participating in the program this year for NT but the lack of choice certainly shouldn’t mean much when you a French farm table feast being planned for you. Across two different days, this praised restaurant will be serving a banquet style dinner with classic and modern French dishes like onion soup with gruyere toast.
Where: Shop 9, 27 Smith Street, Darwin, NT 800
Cost: $165. includes matched wines
When: May 5, 8; 6.30pm-11.30pm
GOMA Restaurant (Brisbane)
Head along to this South Bank staple on May 15th and take part in a six-course champagne degustation lunch designed by Exec. Chef Josue Lopez. Lopez has focused on paying homage to some of the world’s most famous Champagne houses alongside Queensland’s finest produce while Champagne doyenne Bernadette O’Shea walks guests through the intricacies of each exquisite Champagne and the stories behind the houses the produce them.
Where: Gallery of Modern Art, Stanley Place, South Bank, QLD 4101
Cost: $300. includes matched champanges
When: May 15; 12pm-4.30pm
Bookings: 07 3842 9916
Paris and Barcelona will intersect at this very special dinner in Brisbane, with Javier Codina and Francois Le Saveant representing their respective backgrounds for a collaborative eight-course that turns ‘Javier’s Table’ share-style menu into a ‘Javier and Francois’ 8-courser with dishes and wines from both cultures coming together.
Where: 12 Edward Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000
When: May 18; 6.30pm-11pm
Bookings: 07 3221 7655
Prime Australian produce will be showcased at the ‘Best of the Best Dinner’ at one of Brisbane’s favourites, celebrating top notch ingredients like crayfish from Torres Strait islands or Rangers Valley 9+ Kobe beef. These world-class ingredients will be prepared with the kitchen’s signature flair into a six course degustation dinner that’s an absolute must for the discerning diner.
Where: 181 Mary Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Cost: $150. 11/05/2016 19:00:00
When: May 11; 7pm-10.30pm
Bookings: 07 3229 2271
The Fish House (Burleigh Heads)
Up in Burleigh The Fish House will be presenting a dinner that’s all about good caviar and great Champagne, matching up all different types – Beluga, Oscietra, Yasa, Sterling and Sevruga – with a five-course dinner. Louis Roederer Champagnes will be paired up with these delicacies which have been sourced from all over the globe, from Italy to the United Arab Emirates. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the diversity in the world of caviar this is your best bet.
Where: 50 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads, QLD 4220
Cost: $250. includes matched Louis Roederer champagnes
When: May 4; 6.45pm-10.30pm
Bookings: 07 5535 7725
Africola/Fall From Grace (Aldinga)
Africola and Fall From Grace will welcome Mark Labrooy and Darren Robertson from Byron’s famed Three Blue Ducks to take part in this special dinner with the kitchen’s Duncan Welgemoed, preparing a four-course lunch of rustic fare served on long tables.
Where: Fall From Grace, 22 Old Coach Road, Aldinga
Cost: $130. includes matched wines
When: May 22: 12.30 – 6pm
Chloe’s (Kent Town)
Chloe’s will be breaking out their extensive cellar for this eight-course degustation dinner across two nights. Local and seasonal produce sourced to a high standard will be used to whip up this celebrated blend of French and modern Australia.
Where: 36 College Road, Kent Town, SA 5067
Cost: $220. includes matched wines
When: May 5, 20; 7pm-10.30pm
Bookings: 08 8362 2574
Frank Restaurant (Hobart)
Anyone who has been to Dark Mofo before knows that the Winter Feast is a thing of beauty down in Hobart. The popular Frank Restaurant will be using this wintry opportunity to host a warming dinner of BBQ’d meats, fish and vegetables which will result in dishes like a roasted fish tortilla, slow-cooked pork belly, warm pudding and roasted quince. Enjoy all this with a pisco sour or malbec in hand.
Where: 1 Franklin Wharf, Hobart, TAS 7000
Cost: $85. includes matched drinks
When: May 5; 6pm-12am
Bookings: 03 6231 5005
Smolt (Salamanca Square)
Hobart’s legendary Smolt will be bringing in influence from Spain as they use the season’s best to put together a menu with dishes like grilled baby leeks with almond romesco, and mussels with paprika and garlic. Oh yeah, and you can’t go past their paella.
Where: 2 Salamanca Square, Battery Point, TAS 7004
Cost: $85. includes matched drinks
When: May 12; 6pm-12am
Bookings: 03 6224 2554
Young Chef of the Year (Good Food Guide 2014) Ollie Gould will be putting together a lavish ocean-to-table seafood four-courser, tweaked to complement a Mediterranean palate and show off local produce. Seafood fans will be remiss not to head along on May 19th.
Where: 278 Marine Parade, Swanbourne, WA 6010
Cost: $119. includes matched wines
When: May 19; 7pm-10pm
Bookings: 08 9286 4050
The Standard (Northbridge)
The Standard has a short but rich history of crowd favourites and they’ll be celebrating their whirlwind first year by bringing back their top six greatest hits for this special menu. Think savoury mushroom donuts, finger-lickin spiced-out chicken grill with rice noodles and vanilla bean panna cotta with lemon thyme jelly and housemade lemonade.
Where: 28 Roe Street, Northbridge, WA 6003
Cost: $75. includes matched drinks
When: May 4, 11, 18; 7pm-9pm
Bookings: 08 9228 1331
Low Key Chow House (Leederville)
Ever been to a banana leaf feast? There’s one on May 21st at Low Key Chow House, highlighting a number of Southeast Asian cuisines with coal-charred satay, sticky wings and kimchi, Filipino sausages, soft shell chilli crab, Vietnamese beef patties and more. No cutlery necessary.
Where: 1400 Oxford Street, Leederville, WA 6007
Cost: $55. includes a drink on arrival
When: May 21; 12pm-2pm
Bookings: 08 9443 9305
Cutler & Co (Fitzroy)
This adored Melbourne favourite will be celebrating their Kitchen Sessions by putting together the restaurant’s senior creative team with key mentors of the program to lead this one-night-only event. Encouraging innovation is key here and a number of chefs will be in the kitchen including David Moyle (Franklin in Hobart) and Casey McDonald (Cutler & Co’s Head Chef) to put together a five-course menu designed to cap off a night that starts with guests enjoying canapes are nearby wine bar Marion.
Where: 55-57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065
Cost: $195. includes matched drinks
When: May 16; 6.30pm-10.30pm
Bookings: 03 9419 4888
Estelle’s Scott Pickett will be working with James Viles from Biota to put together a six-course dinner that focuses on sustainability with a little hint of drama on the plate.
Where: 245 High Street, Northcote, VIC 3070
When: May 18; 6.30pm-9pm
Bookings: 03 9489 4609
Mister Bianco (Kew)
One of this writer’s favourite Melbourne Italian restaurants will be putting on a truffle dinner highlighting Terra Preta truffles from WA which have been used in Sicilian dishes in a five-course menu. These earthy delights may include a tortellino of roasted scampi with Jerusalem artichoke veloute and a risotto of pumpkin, porcini and aged balsamic wine
Where: 285 High Street, Kew, VIC 3101
Cost: $130. includes matched wines
When: May 10; 6.30pm-8.30pm
Bookings: 03 9853 6929
Saint Crispin (Collingwood)
This dinner will be all about the umami taste found in mushrooms, mats, and seafoods, tasking Chef Joe Grbac with using his favourite sources of this often undervalued taste in a three-course menu. You won’t get any sweet, sour, bitter, or salty flavours here!
Where: 300 Smith Street, Collingwood, VIC 3066
Cost: $110. includes matched wines
When: May 19; 7pm-10.30pm
Bookings: 03 9419 2202
Flower Drum (CBD)
The diversity of Chinese cuisine will be explored as Exec. Chef Anthony Lui goes from North to South for a six-course banquet menu. His native Southern style with delicately prepared seafood dishes will be evident, along with the bold and spiced flavours of Northern style with 3 courses inspired by each region
Where: 17 Market Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Cost: $140. Includes; 6 Course Dinner Banquet
When: May 17; 7pm-9:30pm
Bookings: 03 9662 3655
For more information and to view the full program head to: www.australiastoprestaurants.com
Headline image: Mister Bianco