The five-course degustation from renowned Melbourne restaurants including Akachochin, Bohemian, BangPop, Common Man, Meat Market and Plus 5 allow you to sample a huge variety of cuisines from Japan, Spain, Thailand and Australia, carefully crafted by each restaurant's head chef.
Our tour kicked off at Plus 5, a boutique cocktail, tapas and pizza bar serving up wood-fired cuisine with a killer cocktail menu. We were made a welcome cocktail and settled in to begin our tour with a charcuterie board of nibbles.
Outside the progressive diners, The Plus 5 lounge features regular entertainment sessions including Live Jazz, happy hour and Whisky Wednesdays.
From there, our second stop BangPop recreated the energy and colour of Thailand and inside you'll find not just a great Thai-inspired menu, but also colourful additions such as a bar made of Lego blocks (below).
The colourful and quirky interior of BangPop with its Lego bar. Image:The Ideas Library
BangPop serves Thai dishes made with seasonal ingredients sourced locally or straight from Thailand courtesy of head chef Charlie Nitmaha. Here we were able to sample a welcome canapé of fresh grapefruit, peanuts, ginger, chilli shallots and chilli served on a betel leaf with a dressing made of coconut and palm sugar. And of course, a refreshing glass of wine as our group got to know each other.
Fresh and tasty canapes served up at BangPop. Image:The Ideas Library
Third stop, Japanese restaurant Akachochin, which offers traditional Japanese food twisted into modern bursts of flavour. Akochochin is a modern style Tokyo bar serving small dishes the customary izakaya way and with speciality sake comprising over 50 different varieties. Here you'll get some of the best Japanese food in Melbourne, thanks to head chef Hitoshi Yoshida.
Kingfish tartare with white seasme and soy. Image:The Ideas Library
This stop saw our group enjoying an entrée of Kingfish tartare with white sesame and soy (above), paired with a fine glass of sake.
Mains were served up at Meat Market, a restaurant dedicated to the flavours of an open flame grill. Meat Market offers pasture-fed beef from some of Australia's best ethical producers, as well as chicken, seafood, lamb and kangaroo sourced in Victoria. The open kitchen means guests can get up close to the culinary action before enjoying some of the best steak in Melbourne.
Southwharf's Meatmarket pays homage to everything cooked on the open flame. Image:The Ideas Library
We grabbed a seat at the counter to watch the grilling in action from the front row and enjoyed a main of lamb, roasted potato, dried porcini mushroom, broccolini and a truffle and snail puree (below) paired with a quality red. If you're a wine lover, you'll appreciate the solid wine list on offer here as well.
Hearty mains served up at Meatmarket for the progressive dining experience along South Wharf. Image:The Ideas Library
And what degustation would be complete without dessert? Our last stop on our progressive dining tour was at Bohemian, a Spanish-influenced eatery and bar where you'll find plenty of modern dishes alongside traditional favourites such as paella, tapas and house-made chorizo.
Our desserts were an array of sweet options, so there was something for everyone including deconstructed strawberry cheesecake, a semi-sweet/savoury dish with a bit of carrot cake/pumpkin pie twist that's oh-so-yum, and plenty of other treats to top off the meal.
Bohemian on Melbourne's South Wharf takes inspiration from Spain serving up modern twist and traditional favourites. Image:The Ideas Library
These progressive dinners are an ideal way for foodies to meet like-minded Melburnians (or interstate travellers). They're also an ideal way to celebrate a special occasion with a group or for a corporate/social holiday party.
Progressive dinners take place monthly and are priced at $119 per person (all participants must be 18 or older) and are completely inclusive of all food and drink. Tours run from 6.30pm – 10.00pm and your starting venue will be appointed on booking.