Seasonal cuisines with a rotating exploration of cultures. 133 Commercial Road, South Yarra, Victoria
There’s no pigeon-holing Atlas Dining. The award-winning restaurant aims to completely reinvent the wheel every four months, offering a changing cuisine that keeps returning customers in their droves.
This innovative approach to dining is the work of Charlie Carrington, a 26-year-old chef. Yes, you read that right. He was only born in 1993. Atlas Dining represents his first foray into the head chef role but with the experience he holds, it’s a wonder he didn’t open his own restaurant sooner.
After starting in the industry at 15 with an apprenticeship at the Stokehouse, Charlie worked his way through some of Melbourne and Sydney’s best kitchens, including Vue De Monde, Marque and Firedoor. He’s also worked overseas, with stints in London, San Francisco, Bangkok and Singapore, finessing his skills and techniques to develop a signature cooking style. His travelling experiences also gave him the inspiration for the name,
It’s not just the name these experiences have influenced – in fact, it’s the entire concept. The menu rotates through the flavours of the world and heroes dishes and ingredients from various countries. The offering is made up of a five-course set menu, which explores the best of the selected cuisine. A set menu also allows the chefs to showcase the kind of cooking they want and helps reduce waste. Over the past two years, diners at Atlas have ventured to the likes of Vietnam, Mexico, Israel, Korea, Peru and France, with many more distant lands set to make an appearance on the menu.
Ingredients are cooked on the grills or in the custom-made hearth. In fact, each item is touched by fire in some way, shape or form. This style of cooking was inspired by Charlie’s time at Firedoor – he even had the grills custom-made by Firedoor Head Chef, Lennox Hastie.
The beer and wine list follows the changing cuisine. For example, the Vietnamese menu was accompanied by a selection of white wines and some lighter reds. There is also a seasonal selection of cocktails on offer.
“The cocktails move with the cuisine and match the flavours of what we learn from the country,” said Charlie. This is primarily overseen by Front of House Manager, Anna Riou Labret – with a little culinary help of course.
The amazing food and drinks are delivered in an architecturally designed, travel-themed space. Created by Sydney-based architects, Belinda Pajkovic (Bennelong) and Tamara Frangelli from GelliKovic Architects, the venue takes subtle inspiration from the cities that have inspired Atlas Dining. A series of latitude and longitude lines and coordinates on the walls allude to past and future destinations.
While the entire design is beautiful – think salvaged timber, leather-clad banquettes and an open view kitchen – it is the breathtaking brass compass hanging from the ceiling that takes centre stage. This four-metre custom- made feature provides light as well as pointing due north, reminding guests they are dining in an atlas of sorts.
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