The gal always knows that a Hyatt in the entire Asia-Pacific region will have outstanding food – this is because the region’s restaurant and general dining scene is created and led by Andreas Stalder, who is honestly a legend for all those who have ever come across him. He knows how to do simple things well (see the unadorned presentation, above, of bread and butter in Collins Kitchen, a 200-seat all-day restaurant that occupies most of the lobby of Collins Street’s leading luxury hotel, Grand Hyatt Melbourne). This hotel is, however, always keeping up to date. One of the latest must-tries in Australia right now is tartares.
What a far cry from the latest craze of doughnuts back in the USA. Here, away from sweetness, it is savoury tartares that are setting the tone. In the last few days I have eaten, in order, but at separate meals, kangaroo tartare, beef tartare and now this delicious beetroot tartare, which is being introduced, this very week, into Jason Camillo’s menu at Collins Kitchen. I knew immediately what fun this 547-room hotel’s dining would be; in room 290, I had a red-cover booklet, The Source: a food and wine lovers’ journey, full colour inside, with details of some of the suppliers. Cheeses come from Ian Robertson of Meribel Fine Foods here in Melbourne, for instance.
I now know, and want to try, Yellingbo Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and the strawberries in my room are hydroponic, grown by Scott Carter of Gippsland Strawberries (perhaps I could try an MGC Melbourne Gin Company Dry Gin made by The Wanderer winemaker Andrew Marks!). It is really good to promote suppliers in this way, I thought, as I looked out of my window down across the tennis centre, home of the annual Australian Open – when most of the stars stay here, at this lovely hotel – and across the Yarra River, with its line of boat houses. This being a Grand Hyatt, of course, I had June Jacobs toiletries, and, another Grand Hyatt special, there was a lovely Grand Club, here on the 31st floor so spectacular views.
George Benney, one of the world’s other legendary hoteliers, happened to be in town (he lives in Perth most of the time) and we had morning coffee while he reminisced, about Hyatts in general, and Regent, and the Sukhothai in Bangkok. A lot of ears should have been burning. I packed my Porsche Rimowa and headed down to the luxury hotel’s Russell Street car entrance to make my way to the airport, and there was the GM, Ilan Weill, waiting to say goodbye. Goodness, does he farewell all his Australian Open guests, or only those who make it through, say, to the quarter final before being sent packing? NOW SEE A VIDEO OF MY ROOM, BELOW