Imagine for a moment a restaurant in Melbourne where you can have uninterrupted panoramic views. There is no 'can I have a window table, please?' issue, because every table is a window table. I'm talking about views that sweep out to Port Phillip Bay, across to the Dandenongs, and north as far as the eye can see. You may have a closer view of Albert Park Lake, the MCG, the Malthouse, or even, as we did, The Edge
. To achieve such a view, you need height, and Eureka 89
has it in spades.
The Melbourne Skydeck, which is open to the public, occupies level 88 of the Eureka Tower. Take the lift to the Skydeck level and then, if you have a reservation for Eureka 89, take the private lift up one more floor, to what feels like the top of the world.
Delightful panoramic views from every table
As we were taken to our table, I felt a bit smug, thinking we'd somehow landed the best table in the house, because the view was spectacular. There was a reality check as I realised that every
table is positioned next to a floor-to-ceiling window. Each view is unique but stunning. This would be a great place to bring an overseas guest or someone you really wanted to impress.
The tables are spaced a good distance apart, making conversation easy. It would also be a great location for a romantic meal.
There is enough space between tables to allow easy conversation. (Image credit: David Bignell.)
Our attentive waiter, Samba ('like the dance', he quipped) confirmed we were to have the 7-course chef's tasting menu with matched wines. Eureka 89 offers an 'early seating' 5-course chef's tasting menu (from 5.30pm) and a 'late seating' 7-course chef's tasting menu (from 7pm), as well as a 4-course set lunch menu from 12pm on Sundays. You can find samples of all menus here
. For each of these options, wine pairing, and vegetarian options, are available.
The menus are curated by Executive Chef, Renee Martillano. Martillano has a long term commitment to Eureka 89, having started there as Sous Chef in 2011. The menus aim to showcase the best seasonal produce, with Martillano and team committed to working closely with local Victorian and Australian producers.
Let me take you on a gastronomic journey through the creative and exquisitely executed 7-course degustation menu.
Course 1: Yellowfin Tuna (with smoked beetroot, buttermilk, yuzu)
Matched wine: Deviation Road 'Altair' Sparkling Rose NV (Adelaide Hills SA)
Yellowfin tuna with smoked beetroot
As you can see in the image, the fish comes topped with an umbrella of beetroot. The beetroot has been smoked, and the subtle smoky flavour is apparent from the first mouthful. The dish was delicate, light, tangy and very more-ish. It was the perfect starter. The citrus notes of the sparkling rose worked well with the yuzu touches that were also a feature of the dish.
Course 2: Elements of Mushroom (with goat gouda, pinenuts, yoghurt)
Matched wine: Bannockburn 1314 Blanc (2020), Moorabool Valley VIC
Elements of Mushroom
This dish was perhaps the surprise of the night. Mushroom does not always have the instant appeal on the plate of some other ingredients, but as you can see from my image, this dish gets top marks for presentation. But it was the flavours that had us in raptures. The little cubes of mushroom wrapped in celeriac included a crisp element that may have been freeze-dried mushroom. Regardless of what it was, it was absolutely delicious! From the notes I wrote at the time: 'frissons of ecstasy! How can mushrooms taste so good?'. This dish was definitely a contender for dish of the night.
Course 3: Textures of Potato (with avruga caviar, sea kelp, bottarga)
Matched wine: Marc Bredif Vouvray (2020), Loire Valley FR
Textures of Potato
When Textures of Potato
was served, it looked a little like creamy Dauphinoise potatoes. But we soon realised that appearances can be deceptive! The outer shell of potato was the packaging for an unexpectedly complex and delicious dish; eating it was like unwrapping a gift. The creamy combination of potato, with creamed leeks, and a luscious butter sauce was heavenly. The inclusion of the high end ingredients bottarga (cured fish roe pouch) and avruga caviar (which, I learned, is not actually fish roe, but made from smoked wild herring), meant this dish would hold its ground in any restaurant. Our conclusion was that Textures of Potato
was a dish that would be difficult to prepare to perfection - but perfection had indeed been achieved.
If Textures of Potato appeals to you, the generous chefs at Eureka 89 have shared their recipe, and you can find it here.
Course 4: Glacier 51 Toothfish (with garum butter, kohlrabi, bouillabaisse)
Matched wine: Scorpo 'Bestia' Pinot Grigio on skins (2021), Mornington Peninsula VIC
Glacier 51 Toothfish
The inclusion of of Glacier 51 Toothfish on the menu again stamps this meal as unquestionably five star. Toothfish is sourced from Antarctic waters by Austral Fisheries, which has received certification as a sustainable fishery
by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The fish is noted for its high fat and Omega 3 content, giving it what is described as a 'waygu-like' characteristic.
I don't normally take food photos from directly above, but made an exception in this case because I thought the use of this sea blue, wavy plate was inspired - serving a seafood dish on a plate that looks like the sea. So appealing!
This dish would get my 'dish of the night' award by a whisker. It's difficult to express just how much pleasure I got from eating this dish! It had to be savoured mouthful by mouthful. It was an absolute sensory pleasure. The intensity of flavour in the bouillabaisse was off the scale. We also liked the use of succulent leaves as a garnish, adding interest and texture to an already classy dish.
Course 5: Southern Ranges Beef (with wasabi, onion soubise, daikon gastrique)
Matched wine: Domaine des Clos Godeaux 'Les Maupas' (2021), Chinon FR
Southern Ranges Beef
It probably goes without saying that the slow cooked beef (short rib) was cooked to mouth-melting perfection. But pair the beef with the rich gastrique (in simple terms, 'sweet and sour' sauce) and the creaminess of the onion soubise (onions sautéed in butter and puréed with heavy cream and seasonings), and it elevates the dish to another level. Not for the first time during this meal, the plate was scraped clean.
Course 6: Cheesemonger Selection (with fennel sable, apricot, pear)
Matched wine: Vietti Moscato d'Asti Cascnietta (2021), Piemonte IT
The Cheesemonger Selection would win my award for 'creative dish of the night'. Looking at my photo, you would be forgiven for thinking that I had selected the wrong image for this dish, because it looks for all the world like a dessert! But this is indeed the cheese platter. The expertly crafted biscuits have been filled with cheese - on the night we visited, it was Stilton in choux pastry (left) and St Angel in a fennel sable.
Course 7: Rhubarb (with mandarin, hibiscus, chocolate)
Matched wine: Licor 43 Cuarenta y Tres
Thank goodness for the dessert stomach which meant we were able to tackle this beautifully presented finale to our meal. This deconstructed dish captured the perfect balance between the sweetness of the semifreddo and the tanginess of the rhubarb. The matched beverage is listed in the menu as 'sommelier's choice', and on the night we visited, we were served Licor 43, a Spanish liqueur. It's a luscious drink, with notes of citrus and vanilla, which paired to perfection with the dessert.
I haven't said much about the wine pairings during this meal, but we knew we were in safe hands with the experience of sommelier Jeff Salt. I know some diners resist the idea of matched wines, arguing that it's better, and often cheaper, to instead order a glass or two of their favourite style of wine. The advantages of choosing to have matched wines are that an expert has selected wines that will perfectly complement the food, plus you will get to try styles of wines you may not otherwise. The wine servings were generous - I actually ended up leaving wine! - and enhanced the experience, and all in all, I felt it was good value for money.
After dinner, when you take the lift back down to the 88th floor, make sure you take the time to enjoy the 360 degree views from the Skydeck. Entry is included with your meal at Eureka 89.
Our overall experience of Eureka 89 is that it offers generous, beautifully crafted, creative dishes, consumed while enjoying possibly the best views in Melbourne, served by attentive and friendly wait staff.
Eureka 89 is located at Level 89, Eureka Tower, 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank.
It is open from 5.30pm on Wednesday to Sunday for dinner, and from 12 noon to 3pm on Sundays for lunch.
The 5-course chef's tasting menu is $150 (matched wine add $70); the 7-course chef's tasting menu is $190 (matched wine add $95); the Sunday 4-course lunch is $130 (matched wine add $50).
Click here to make an online reservation, call on (03) 9693 8889, or email your enquiry here. Gift voucher bookings and reservations for over 10 guests are only available by calling on (03) 9693 8889.
Please note children are welcome to dine during the lunchtime seatings with a children's menu available. At all other times, the venue does not accommodate children and/or infants under 12 years. Children 12 years and older are welcome, on the full adult menu.
Except where indicated, the images in this article were taken by the writer.