Articles by Liz Hallam

Who am I? A self confessed food tragic, I am lucky enough to live in Australia's food capital, Melbourne. I have had a life long love affair with with exceptional and innovative food. Just as some people are obsessed with new shiny cars, my focus is the extraordinary and unique experiences I am fortunate enough to enjoy through food. My love of food and fine dining is not accidental; merely a fortunate collective of experiences in one’s formative years. My heightened interest in food in its various forms began in my adolescence at my best friend’s house. Fine dining at last centuries home dinner parties, were splendid affairs. The dishes and the ambience reflected my host’s "grand world tour" experiences and were a departure from family food. But it was not just the newly discovered grandiosity, that informed my palate as a foodie, “backyard to plate” was firmly imbedded in my DNA. Our family always had excellent home grown ingredients simply prepared, chefs today sing in unison about the need to source food locally, I grew up with food growing outside the back door my father’s home grown vegetables, the lamb from the farm and the taste of the fruit from the orchard behind out house is what food should taste like. A long university course came with numerous very long summer breaks I was able to work during term at old fashioned respectable hotels as a waitress where I learnt the art of fine service and the function of every piece in those lovely long rows of cutlery. This allowed me to saveup like mad to fund my own grand tours. Eurail was a foodie apprentice’s best friend; we travelled with unimaginable freedom on limited resources, and with providence by our side we ate like royalty. In Europe I discovered the prix fixe menu, real bread and the green salad with vinaigrette. I tasted the Best of British in York and then St Davids , straight from the Aga, of a boyfriends mother’s, a very accomplished home cook and Elizabeth David doppleganger, and relished Scandinavian food, I was hooked. As a student I had a place for my elective in Boston at the very best Children’s hospital. Short of funds my brother placed a bet on a horse for me, too much a long shot, so Asia it was, a month in Singapore in the days before the high rise and then another in India. Street food as I had never seen before and evenings enjoying the culinary highs from locals rich and poor, there was no turning back, food is the universal language. After graduation, a devoted collector already with numerous cookbooks, fortuitously I purchased the book that would change my life, “Great Chefs of France”, by Blake and Crewe. Simple concept, it documented in great detail the chefs and their restaurants at all the three star Michelin restaurants in France outside of Paris in the 70s. Airmail correspondence secured a single bookings at “Restaurant de la Pyramide” in Vienne and at “L’Auberge du Pere Bise” in Talloires. There was no turning back from a life obsessed with the wonders of sublime dining and food in all its forms. Career, dogs and beautiful children consumed my very existence for the next 2 decades. Now matured but not faded and I find myself with a new vigour to return to the glorious decadence of my fancy-free earlier years. Shoe boxes full of treasured menus and memories in no particular order I lament not having documented those extraordinary times. Recent unencumbered adventures leave me sifting through thoughts of others, essential pre reading before the next adventure. Incredible food is more a review and reminiscence as much a critique, of the best restaurants in the world, whose position and status is defined by others. I use the “Lists”, “ Stars”, ”Hats” and reputable individual local or national rankings and the often unexpected discovery to determine what I write about. A visit to such places on high does not start as you cross the threshold, unlike my fellow bloggers I live a long way from the main action, a visit is indeed an expedition and its all about the journey to get there. Happy times.


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Twins: Old Russian cuisine made new again

Dinner 19 August 2016 Forget all the hype about the twins; this is a serious destination for real foodies. The minute you walk through the door, Sergey and Ivan’s relaxed nature is evident and sets the scene for an exciting journey through old becomes new, modern Russian cuisine. If you have never tasted real Russian…

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Cosme: Holey Moley how incredible

Lunch May 23, 2016 Walking into the Cosme space, you can’t help but utter a WOW, it is truly beautiful and nothing like you would expect in a Mexican restaurant. However this is the New York morphed restaurant of Enrique Olivera, chef of the famous Mexico city restaurant Pujol, currently number 15 on the World’s…

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Atelier Crenn: Poetic Culinaria where creativity is given its breath through artful French dining

Dinner May 14, 2016 Spring has come with it’s cool breeze, Poetic Culinaria.  A poem for each season, ushers in a modern take on fine French cuisine where creativity is given it’s breath and artistry is at the forefront. Atelier Crenn achieves this lofty height, the techniques are refined and artful plating is compliments perfectly balanced food. As the journey…

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BÆST: Cool food nailed in Copenhagen

Dinner 22 July 2015 BÆST Needing a break from upmarket degustation, then head across the river to Relae’s little brother, an Organic meat eatery and quality Pizzeria. As soon as you head down the laneway littered with bicycles, this place oozes cool, from the hip, friendly staff, modern Italian decor and the amazing wood fired…

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Faviken Breakfast: Incredible and must not be missed

Breakfast July 12, 2015   Anyone who has read anything about Faviken knows it doesn’t matter how full you feel from the night before you cannot miss breakfast. Carefully choreographed as expected, you will be beckoned to your original table, each set beautifully with a wondrous spread of traditional Nordic cuisine. Familiar faces will appear, others…

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Faviken Magasinet, Järpen: Locavorism epitomised

I have yearned to visit this unique restaurant ever since I laid eyes on the powder blue cover of the cookbook,  “Faviken”. It was an impulse buy nestled amongst other worlds top 50 chef’s books, from a favourite haven, Books for Cooks. I sat down one rainy Saturday afternoon and began to flick through the pages. Mesmerised,…

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Tomatoes in Menton: ur fruit

How many times do we hear chefs chant, keep it simple, keep it simple, let the ingredients do the talking. Wandering around the markets in Menton, France, home of Mirazur, restaurant of Argentinian born chef, Mauro Colagreco and no 11 in the Worlds best 50 restaurant, there they were, rippling in the fading, dusk light,…

Noma Japan, February 2015, where every morsel was savoured and umami from each dish, lingered so intensely that to take a bite of the next offering was almost sacrilege.  You knew you would have to say goodbye to a new best friend to make way for the next. Exploring the street food and food halls of Tokyo, provided the matrix to begin to understand what Rene Redezpi’s genius set out to achieve. At the end, I asked “What did you think about the food?'  “incredible”  Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy