Melbourne: Donovan Cooke
A pioneering chef crafts the ultimate tour down under.
Donovan Cooke is a legend in Melbourne for his run at Est Est Est, a revolutionary French restaurant that closed nearly a decade ago. Now Cooke, a protégé of Michel Roux and Marco Pierre White, has opened the seafood-inspired Atlantic (8 Whiteman St.; 61-3/9698-8888; dinner for two $210) at the Crown Entertainment Complex, which houses the new Crown Metropol hotel, Australia’s largest. For breakfast, Cooke drops by the European (161 Spring St.; 61-3/9654-0811; breakfast for two $40), where his son is an apprentice. “There’s great people-watching, strong espresso, and perfect poached eggs.” Clamms Fast Fish (141 Acland St.; 61-3/9534-1917; lunch for two $20) provides the city’s top restaurants with their seafood. “They also serve classic fish-and-chips,” Cooke says. “Get yours to go and head to St. Kilda Beach to watch the waves roll in.” Maze by Gordon Ramsay (Level 1, 8 Whiteman St.; 61-3/9292-8300; lunch for two $90) is the chef’s preferred sit-down lunch spot. “I enjoy the small-plate grazing menu.” What to order? “Yellowfin-tuna tartare with radish and a deconstructed beet salad with goat cheese and Cabernet Sauvignon vinaigrette.”