If you’re anything like me, you probably can’t get enough of this season’s hottest southside venue – Atlas Dining.
His debut venture, inspired by his travels overseas, offers a frequently changing menu with fresh and simple dishes, cooked using fire. While the menu changes regularly, the cuisine at Atlas Dining is also transformed completely every four months to keep things fresh and allow Charlie to showcase a range of cuisines.
Recently, Charlie reunited with his mentor Lennox Hastie from Sydney’s sizzling Firedoor for a one night only event. As the man who introduced Charlie to cooking with wood, it seemed only fitting that the two collaborate on a degustation dinner of epic proportions.
Held at Atlas Dining, the dinner offered a unique insight into what both Charlie and Lennox can do. From handmade wood-fired sourdough with smoked butter to snap peas with stracciatella and green almonds, each dish was simple, fresh and surprising.
A clear favourite on the six-course menu was the 270-day dry-aged beef rib. The black market Rangers Valley beef dish is the culmination of a four-year passion project for Lennox. The ribs were painted with rendered kidney fat before they were dry aged for more than eight months and finally, flown down to Melbourne with Lennox. The process of dry ageing allows the natural flavours of the meat (with a marble score of 5+) to intensify and leads to tenderness like no other.
Deliciously salty and served simply with a salad of lettuce leaves, the ribs were a clear favourite among diners. Paired with a glass of 2012 Glaetzer Anaperenna Shiraz Cabernet from the Barossa Valley, this course was a perfect way to finish the savoury part of the meal.
Coming in a close second was King George whiting served with spring cabbage and sea blight. Cooked to perfection over a flame, the whiting was melt-in-the-mouth delicious and showcased the impressive results that cooking without gas can yield. This was expertly paired with a French white, a 2014 Michael Autran Vouvray Ciel Rouge to be exact, which offered a dryness and complexity perfectly suited to the whiting.
The dinner finished with a bowl of mulberries and blueberries (many handpicked by Lennox himself), which were served with a scoop of smoked buffalo curd ice cream. In the sophisticated, atlas-etched wine glasses this time was a German dessert wine, a sweet and acidic way to finish a delightful degustation.
Atlas Dining is a truly interactive experience. The staff are attentive and considerate, explaining every part of the menu and each dish is served by the very chefs who create it. This affords an intimacy like no other. Each course is also consumed using sparkling silver cutlery from a brown leather pouch.
Dining at Atlas truly lives up to the hype. Charlie Carrington is certainly onto something special at his South Yarra restaurant and I certainly can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve next.
Originally published on Smudge Eats.