Not in Melbourne?

Australia's Very Expensive Restaurants

Global Financial Crisis? What Global Financial Crisis? There’s little evidence that the nation’s most eager diners have had their fortunes nibbled by debt. Using the braised abalone at Melbourne’s Silks or the Sevruga pasta at Otto’s in Woolloomooloo as a guide, it’s a bull market. Mmmm. Let’s order some bull.

There’s a peculiar thing about recession dining in Australia. Before the GFC, many of our hippest, hottest restaurants did their very best to look down-at-heel. The underdone ghetto-fabulousness of Gill’s Diner in Melbourne or just about anywhere in Bondi said, “Shh. Let’s pretend we’re poor.” Now that people have lost all their money, they seem very eager to spend it.

Business at Tetsuya shows no signs of slowing with hopeful diners promising their first born several months in advance. Here degustation, which is the only option, darling, starts at just over the two-hundred-dollar mark. Without booze. Quay offers a similar price.

For our degustation dollar, there is no value better than Claude’s. A five-course tasting menu is available for mere pennies and Chui Lee Luk is as unwavering in her kitchen skill as she is in her commitment to modest corkage. You can BYO here for twenty bucks a bottle.

But, what are we talking about? Let’s spend, spend spend. And there is no better place in Melbourne to lose the lucre than Vue de Monde. Local imp Shannon Bennett offers some of the most creditable crumbs outside of France with his Gastronomes Menu at $250. Rather famously, the cook led a $10,000 a head dinner in (possibly Satanic) alliance with Petrus back in 2007.

Ripponlea’s Attica, at the time of writing the city’s only three-hatted diner, offers a $160 tasting menu; $270 if you fancy a drink. If you’re really keen on causing both fiscal and environmental offence, order the shark’s fin soup at Flower Drum. Don’t even ask me to tell you what it costs. And, as the adage goes, if you have to ask about the cost of truffles in season at Grossi Florentino, you probably can’t afford them.

A little more modesty prevails in Brisbane with one of the best degustation menus at Restaurant Two coming in at $200.

And, if all of this is too cheap for your tastes, travel abroad for bank-breaking. Visit Niu Niu Bain Taipei and enjoy a $300 bowl of beef noodle soup. A bargain, you say? Go to Norma’s at the lovely Parker Meridian Hotel in NYC and have the Zillion Dollar Frittata which is covered in servuga and costs much less than a zillion at $1000. Loose change? London’s Bombay Brasserie will serve you a curry at around $AU3000. The Samundari Khazana may or may not come with naan.

SM King, Citysearch

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Restaurants where quality costs


Level 1, Crown Towers , 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank

-37.822633 144.96078

This plush Chinese restaurant is designed in the style of a Chinese mansion and equipped with a silken Mongolian tent that behaves as a bar.

Category: Restaurants // Mains from: $8.80 // Cuisine: Chinese

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Grossi Florentino

80 Bourke St, Melbourne

-37.81172 144.970879

A smattering of old Italy in this most cosmopolitan and most livable of cities, Grossi Florentino's chairs have cushioned the most discerning of diners and wine buffs alike. Drop in for a glass before the theatre, of a carafe before the game: ahhh, Melbourne!

Category: Bars & Clubs // Venue Type: Bar

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Restaurant Two

2 Edward St, Brisbane

-27.472 153.030545

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