As the old year draws to a close, what better to reflect on than the foods we have loved (and often over-indulged in until we loathed) during the past year.
1. Acai Bowls
Oh how you loved Brazilian superfood, acai, in 2014! The dark purple antioxidant-rich berry that launched one billion Instagram photos has been popping up in breakfast bowls all over town. Served frozen on muesli, with yoghurt and chopped fruit, it’s a nutritious and delicious brekkie. We did some digging and found Melbourne’s best acai bowls. #blessed
2. American BBQ
At the other end of the spectrum, we’ve been hoeing into pulled pork and bbq ribs like we’ve been at a year long hoedown. Wheel out the smoker and pass me some brisket, here are Melbourne’s best American BBQ joints.
Another US (by way of Poland) import we're digging is the bagel. These boiled-then-baked rings of doughy goodness are experiencing a resurgence of late. We get ours—loaded with smashed avo or smoked salmon—at Manchester Press in the city, on the road from the Round the Way Bagels food truck, or at awesome NY-style bagel heaven, 5&Dime.
4. Breakfast Greens
First everyone starting sipping on green juice, now they’re munching blanched kale with craisins for brekkie. Every Melbourne café worth its salt has tapped into the clean eating trend, and is offering a green breakfast. Check out our fave breakfast greens in Melbourne. Guilt-free brunching has arrived.
2014 has been an epic year for the Melbourne burger scene. Whether you like yours Aussie-style with the obligatory egg and beetroot (brioche be gone), a la American with a double beef patty and sweet bun, or with a modern twist (Thai? Inky charcoal bun?), there is a true burger love just waiting for you. Go out and find ‘the one’ with our guide to 13 burgers you need to try right now. (We’ve also compiled this nifty guide to chicken burgers and vegie burgers around Melbourne town).
6. Clean Eating
On the flip side, clean eating was huge in 2014, with even Greek God (in the kitchen), George Calombaris, launching a clean eating café in Kew. Along with Mastic, Prahran welcomed nourished:385 and Green Street Juice Co., a second Nutrition Bar set up shop in Windsor, Combi expanded into a swanky new cafe in Elwood, and Yarraville locals got their health freak on at Heal.Thy Self Co.
Raw was another buzz word, with Raw Trader doing a raw-ing CBD trade, and our round up of Melbourne’s best raw desserts melting your hearts.
We also rounded up the best healthy feeds in town, in 50 Best Thin Feeds.
7. Decadent Desserts
Crème brulee just ain’t cutting it with Melbourne diners any more. We want flames, dry ice, oozing eruptions, flower petals dried by moonlight during the winter solstice… And Melbourne’s best restaurants have delivered, with some of the most OTT, decadent desserts we’ve seen in decades.
It's been a big year for doughnuts, with the arrival of fancy schmancy doughnut joints, Shortstop and All Day Donuts (not forgetting old fave, Doughboys). Hot cinnamon is so passé; now it’s all about PB&J, rose crème and salted caramel. The macaron of 2014. Here are Melbourne’s best gourmet doughnuts and our round up of the best exotic doughnuts to be found in our multicultural Metropolis.
Ok, so they have been a ‘food trend’ for the past five or so years (possibly forever), but it seems there’s a new dumpling joint in Melbourne every five minutes. Some of our new faves popped up this year—Charlie Dumpling Junior, New Shanghai and East, sister restaurant to the inimitable HuTong. Oh, and did you miss our round up of Melbourne’s best dumplings? Shame on you.
10. Fat Feeds
It seems that for every Paleo eater out there, there are five just waiting to dive into a belt-busting burger, foot-long hotdog, or deep-fried dessert. And Melbourne restaurants, cafes and bars are obliging with meals and treats that are definitely on Santa’s naughty list. Our pick of Melbourne’s 50 best fat feeds caused quite the stir earlier this year. Revisit it and drool. Or check out these kick-ass loaded fries. Chilli cheese, yes please!
11. Fermented Foods
2014 is the year our guts got a good seeing to, with every man and his dog munching on kimchi (fermented Korean vegetables, see #17), and swigging kombucha like nobody’s business. Ye olde pickled cucumber also got a look in, popping up on bar menus across town (we dig the deep fried pickles at Ike’s Rack Shack). If you want to get your pickle fix at home, The Pickle Bear has some of the cutest branding and best dill pickles around (with a bit of a kick to them, too).
12. Food Challenges
Continuing on the devilish theme, we hunted down Melbourne’s most epic food challenges. Definitely fun, definitely not dietician-recommended.
13. Food Trucks
We chase them here, we chase them there. We have festivals in their honour… In Melbourne, food trucks are like a religion. We’ve welcomed quite a few new Melbourne food trucks this year—TOASTA, Hammer & Tong, Gogi and Danger Dogs for starters—and we’re trucking excited about what’s in store for 2015. We love food trucks so much we’ve done round one and two of our faves, plus our most recent story on the best Melbourne food trucks to stalk this summer. Cos, let’s face it, meals on wheels are so much more fun.
I know, I know, French isn’t exactly a food trend; it’s a culinary staple like bread and butter. But, with the opening of L’Hotel Gitan and Jardin Tan, it feels like French food in Melbourne is having a bit of a renaissance. And is it just us or are croissants and crepes on crack this year? We celebrated the opening of Balwyn creperie, Bar Sur Loup, and queued each weekend at Lune Croissanterie. We rounded up the best crepes around town, then buttered you up with our best croissant round up, followed by a list of lip-smacking choc versions.
15. Fried Foods
Call us shallow, flash or deep, but we love fried foods here in Melbourne. From finger lickin’ chicken, to soft shell crab, jalapenos or shrimp, here are the fried foods we’d jump into a sizzling pan for.
16. Hot Dogs
Never has the old sauso in bread been so in vogue. From the foot-long challenge at Massive Wieners, to the bacon-wrapped deliciousness of the Mexicali ‘dogs from the Danger Dogs food truck, we were doggone delighted with the year of the hot dog. Doused in ketchup, topped with onions and mounted with mustard, here are Melbourne’s best hot dogs.
17. Korean BBQ
Launching with a temporary CBD pop-up at Rue & Co, Kong introduced a whole new Melbourne audience to the wonder of Korean food (and some of the best fried rice and beef short ribs in town). The crew behind Hammer & Tong also got in on the action, launching their Korean food truck, Gogi, at the Night Noodle Markets. We also piped up, with our pick of Melbourne’s Korean BBQ joints.
18. Lobster Rolls
It all started back at Golden Fields, and it took the rest of Melbourne restaurateurs a while to catch up, but now Melburnians have fallen hook, line and sinker for the lobster roll. The Mr Claws pop-up was the talk of Taste of Melbourne, now temporarily dishing up the luscious lobster-filled brioche buns from Smith Street digs. Cray about crustaceans? Then check out our haul of Melbourne’s best seafood rolls, wraps and burgers.
In a slider, rolling round some spaghetti, perched atop polenta… we Melburnians are simply mad about meatballs. Here’s where to get Melbourne’s best balls.
Seems we’re all craving the good ol’ days, with a new-found obsession with milk bar treats like the humble old milkshake. ‘Cept now she isn’t so humble, with fancy and inventive flavours like Redskin, salted caramel and even booze-spiked concoctions (we love those at The Grand Trailer Park Taverna). You went so nuts over our first milkshake round up that we recently published Melbourne’s Best Milkshakes: Round 2.
The new Dukan Diet (hahaha, remember that?), Paleo is here to stay. We’ve been chowing down like cave people at all the fab Paleo cafes popping up over Melbourne. Patch is a particular face in the TUL office.
Argentinian is still doing its thang, but Peruvian is the dark horse of South American cuisine, stealthily winning Melbourne bellies. We love their slow-cooked meats (yup, even alpaca), fresher than fresh ceviche, quinoa-based dishes and picarones (sweet potato doughnuts). We’re sitting on the fence about beef hearts, but we say ‘Hells Yeah’ to the national drink, the Pisco Sour. Check out our pick of Melbourne’s best Peruvian restaurants.
Laksa and pho have had their time in the sun; right now it’s all about ramen. Here’s where to get a piping hot bowl of the best Japanese noodle soup in town.
Smoothies have almost, ALMOST, replaced the takeaway coffee cup as the pre-noon accessory du jour. We’re rounded up the best superfood smoothies in Melbourne, plus some more cheeky options to sip on over summer. We’ve also got recipes for some of our favourite smoothies, including a hot chocolate smoothie. Yup, you read that right.
25. Soft Shell Crab
Popping up in salads, tacos and burgers, slathered in sriracha mayo (hellllooo Hammer & Tong), Melbourne just loves these odd-looking, soft on the inside, crispy on the outside crabbies. Lending itself to Asian-inspired flavours, we reckon soft shell crab is here for the long haul (crawl?).
Image credit: Luis Santana via Flickr