26 Jul What’s Good Wednesdays: Louisa Chalmer
Melbourne’s Best Restaurants Right Now, According to Melbourne’s Best Chefs and Pros, Every Wednesday.
Welcome Chef Louisa Chalmer of Clever Polly’s – the small, intimate restaurant and natural wine shop in the North Melbourne and West Melbourne community where you don’t tell them what you’re going to have, they tell you.
What everyone loves? #CheapEats, #HangoverCures, and Lou Chalmer. Save/share/print/fax this list, stat.
Why Chalmer? She was one of the first in Melbourne to promote and sell natural wine, responsible for many of us indulging in celebrations of the most sustainable and biodynamic order. With one foot stamped down on booze, she’s turned the other onto food, offering a Chef’s Selection menu with a Japanese influence for over a year now. Go To Dish? Grilled Duck Breast with miso consommé, kohlrabi, and rapa. Trust us.
Check her five best Melbourne restaurants right now in her What’s Good Wednesday List.
1. Flemington – CHEF LAGENDA (Malaysian)
PERFECT FOR: Cheap Eats / Hangover Cure / Chill Dinner
WHY: “We discovered this a couple of months ago after hearing guests talk about how good it was. Good hospitality, really good food, and it’s a lot of fun to eat here.“
GO-TO DISH: “Ooh, the Chicken Laksa. I know it might be blasphemous to say, but I prefer it to the Laksa a couple of doors up at Laksa King. It just has a little more flavour and detail in the broth. The Peking Duck is pretty good too – the Hoisin isn’t too sweet, which allows the meat to really shine.”
2. St Kilda – RADIO MEXICO (Mexican)
Perfect For: Cheap Eats / Casual Dinner / Dining Solo
WHY: “Costra is grilled cheese on a small taco with a topping. At Radio Mexico, they have Slow Cooked Pork on their Costra- there’s just something about the grilled cheese that sets them apart from a regular taco. Now, if only they did them in taco size…”
GO-TO DISH: “Costra! The teeny taco with Slow-Cooked Pork topped w grilled cheese and slaw. Again, if only they did them in taco size!“
3. South Yarra – PRAHRAN MARKETS (Assorted)
PERFECT FOR: Cheap Eats / Hangover Cure / Brunch
WHY: “Saturday morning vibes. It’s got a great, buzzy atmosphere, high quality produce, the meat from Gary’s is always good and they have a strong ethical focus. The Cheese Toasties from Maker and Monger are really decadent but sooo good… the coffee from Market Lane… the great range of deli products… fresh flowers – what’s not to love?”
GO-TO DISH: “The Mushroom Burger at Market Lane. I’m not normally one to bypass meat in a burger, but these are so delicious – they have chipotle mayo, herb butter and parmesan in them giving a nice balance of umami/spicy/creamy/salty/sweet and they just hit all the right notes. A, so love the fact the mushies come from nearby vendor The Mushroom Man.“
4. St Kilda – CICCIOLINA (Mod Italian)
PERFECT FOR: Date Night / $pecial Occa$ion$
WHY: “I had one of my first really memorable meals here when I moved to Melbourne almost ten years ago. To me, it’s symbolic of all of the things I loved about Melbourne when I moved here – an elegant space, simple but classic food, great service, and a wine list that’s progressive without trying to be trendy. All of the little details are taken care of without it being too fussy; everything has its place. “
GO-TO DISH: “Blue Swimmer Crab Souffle – it’s the stuff dreams are made of. It’s soft and pillowy, tangy and salty, with lemon freshness… absolutely timeless. I never tire of eating it.“
5. Melbourne CBD – HAKATA GENSUKE (Japanese)
Perfect For: Cheap Eats / Hangover Cure / Dining Solo
WHY: “These guys just get it right time and time again. They’re really busy but you never feel unwelcome, and the food is just awesome.“
GO-TO DISH: “Black Ramen – I love this dish. It’s the perfect thing in winter to warm up (or cure a hangover). The broth has black sesame in it, which makes it a little richer than a regular ramen, but the broth itself isn’t super thick so it’s still manageable. Try the Gyoza as well – they’re super light and delicate, but full of flavour.”
That’s Chef Louisa Chalmer of Clever Polly’s, and this is What’s Good!
Access the local venues that Australia’s best chefs and pros dine at. Hit Hood Food Guide up:
Pic: Kristoffer Paulsen.