No. 32 at The Worlds 50 Best Restaurants
Best Restaurant in Australasia
Attica just got renovated … and now is better than ever.
Chef owner Ben Shewry, born and raised in rural North Taranaki on the rugged west coast of the North Island, New Zealand, Ben believes that food can have a deeper meaning than just another item to consume; it can be evocative, emotional and thought provoking, appealing to all of the senses. Of course the key to all this is that it tastes of the purity of its ingredients and is something delicious to eat.
‘Cook’s Leaves’ – Green leaves freshly picked from their backyard with a sweet vinegar and a sour cream dip. This is a great statement since the beginning of what the meal will be. Beautiful product, few ingredients, great flavors.
‘Aged Santa Claus Melon’ – also called christmas melon or pie de sapo shows up as very refreshing snack. Sweet and sour local melon with dusted plum powder to balance the flavors.
Next up are some green dishes. First on the left is ‘Smashed Avocado on Toast’ with a touch of mint and the delicious texture enhancer ‘finger limes’, the caviar of the citrus. Nest to it is a playful dish called ‘ETTNTB’ which stands for Eat The Tomatoes Not The Bush’. Small pieces of the last tomatoes of the seasons perfectly hidden under all the tomato leaves on the plate.
‘Smoked Pork’ – once more, just a single ingredient treated to perfection. Smoked pork neck. Tender and juicy as it needs to be.
‘An Imperfect History of Ripponlea’- As told in three tarts, it is Attica’s homage to the history of the place where they are in.
⬅️black pudding tart homage of the English influence
➡️chicken tart with chicken soup jelly homage of the Jewish heritage
⬇️native peppers, berries and lime homage of the Aboriginal influence
‘Gazza’s Vegemite Pie’ – A tribute to Attica’s butcher and friend @garysqualitymeats with ‘vegemite’ (the Australian spread made with yeast extracts, vegetables and spices), organic lamb and raw goat cheese 🧀 🐐
‘Chewy Carrots’ – Served with an avocado whip the carrots are cooked for 15 hours and end up with a perfect natural sweetness and a pleasant chewy texture. Once again one single product treated carefully delivers one of the best bites of the trip.
‘Mutton Shell’ 🐚🔪- Tender Abalone. Presentation includes one of chef’s homemade knives. Collecting knives is one of chef’s favorite activities. Attica’s team spent some time around Australia learning about the knife making craft and the team collaborated making their very own. Simply beautiful! 🔪 I love their philosophy of not only taking pride of the very unique ingredients but also of the services are that they can make which makes it one of a kind.
‘Beef on the Bone’ 🍗 – Aged beef dusted with macadamia salt
‘Aromatic Ripponlea Broth’ – Chicken stock 🐔 with aromatic herbs from their garden 🌿. A very clean dish showcasing what they are able to grow and pick.
‘Wattleseed Dumper’ – Wattleseed bread with house-churned butter, deep fried saltbush and sour cream (bread service) 🍞
‘Kangaroo, Wattles and Waxflower’💐 – This dish was rich in textures and an opportunity to try for the first time ‘Kangaroo’
‘All Parts of the Pumpkin’ 🎃 – Pumpkin use in its totality in many different textures and cooking methods. A great approach to whole utilization of a product. It is amazing what chef can do with just one ingredient.
‘Grilled Marron with Desert Lime’ – A crustacean local to Australia with very limited availability is perfectly tender and sweet.
‘Backyard Spider’ 🕷🍹🌷 – A little break is given with a tour of Attica’s garden to learn more about the philosophy of the restaurant and enjoy a drink as well as tasting some of the leaves 🍃 in the garden. Fantastic!
We got to taste several of the herbs used during the menu as well as seeing the carrots being cooked.
A little tour of the kitchen.
‘Pineapple and Anise Myrtle’ 🍍 – A very refreshing course high in acidity. Excellent to clean the palate.
‘Whipped Emu Egg with Sugar Bag’ 🐝 – Avery unique presentation on a Emu Egg. Sugarbags are stingless bees from Australia comparable to honey bees.
‘Attica Cheftales’ 🍬 – A wonderful play on the traditional Australian chocolate candy that has movies or stars information printed on the wrappers. In this case, Attica’s showcases trivia information about Chefs. Genius! 🍬
‘Juice Pairings’ – A selection of the juice pairings served to go a long with the meal. All of the juices represented locality and perfectly harmonized all the dishes.