Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations

Season 5 Episode 12


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jul 20, 2009 on Travel Channel

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  • Favorite Home Away from Home

    Tony definitely has spent time in Melbourne before. He has friends there. It seemed like he was putting on an old, beloved piece of clothing. According to Bourdain, "Melbourne is a small city of chefs and lovers of food and wine. It is a cafe and pub town with a deep tradition of markets"

    This Southern Australian city was described as San Francisco without the fog. As a Bay Area native, I can tell you that means that there is access to a lot of fresh produce and seafood, that the diners have sophisticated palates with little patience for over priced food that does not taste good.

    Many people still shop at the Queen Victoria Market instead of a one stop grocery store. There, Tony met Paul Wilson and ate the famous street food: bratwurst with mustard and sauerkraut. Later, he and other chef friends met at Paul's restaurant, Half Moon. The food had "references to Asia, but Australian ingredients and Western techniques."

    Until 1973, Australia had a whites only immigration policy. Since then, the Greeks and Italians are joined by Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, Chinese and others. Sydney Road is where immigrant opened their restaurants. Tony spent time with Matt Preston and indulged in Lebanese food. As much as he liked the pizza, Tony loved the kebab. Meat on a tall spit that resembled Greek souvlakia was cut, placed on pita bread and dressed with onions, tomatoes and yogurt sauce. To top this off, they had dinner in a restaurant so good, they had seconds of the quail and lamb ribs.

    Tony Tan is a Chinese Malay that runs a cooking school. He took Tony to the Dainty Sichuan. Our host was duly impressed. Cooks in Sichuan restaurants, even when Chinese, are from different provinces. Using 20 kilos for chilies per day, the Dainty Sichuan's food had a balance of flavors with the intense heat.

    Paul Wilson and Tony flew to Dunkeld to sample food from the Royal Mail hotel and restaurant. Dan Hunter, trained in Spain with the legendary chef Andoni Aduriz, "returned home to open a hotel and restaurant with its own eco system, sustainable sourcing and food production". The meal was magical.

    The show ended with a BBQ at the home of a Greek chef. On the grill was shrimp, sausage, wagu beef and a lamb on a spit. Tony was very happy. I would not be surprised if Bourdain does not give up his dream of living for a year in Vietnam and start using Melbourne as a base of operations. Yes, he is that in love with this city.