A shimmering river of recycled CDs. One-off truffle events and dishes. The most captivating play you’ll see all year. And more. Here’s what Broadsheet Melbourne editor Tomas Telegramma is checking out in Melbourne in July.
The best of the best (so far)
Somehow, we’re more than halfway through the year. But in the blur that was the last six months, we’ve done some excellent eating and drinking, which has culminated in three rigorously curated lists of the best openings of 2022 (so far). Some restaurants are broadening our horizons, others are dialling up the nostalgia, and there are suburban gems helping cement their neighbourhoods’ spot on the culinary map. Bars-wise, we can confirm it’s an exciting time to be boozing in Melbourne (my top pick is a tiny bluestone pub that feels like the best kind of house party – it’s where I want to be every weekend). And this year’s new cafes run the gamut so considerably that we’ve included “fast-casual” openings in the brief, too. Consider these your winter hit lists – start ticking off as many as you can.
A master of light
What British-Australian artist Bruce Munro does with light is seriously spectacular.
His installations are immersive, monumental and often site-specific. (The one you might recognise most instantaneously is Field of Light; 50,000 spheres of light illuminate Uluru in the largest and most remote iteration of this artwork to date.) But the first Australian museum exhibition dedicated to this internationally acclaimed light artist, From Sunrise Road, has just opened at Heide. Bulleen’s modern-art museum has been overrun by more than 20 significant Munro works – including Ferryman’s Crossing, a shimmering silver river of recycled CDs, with beams of light projected over the surface that spell out a message in morse code. In the sculpture park is a luminescent outdoor “time machine”. Plus, it’s open after dark.
The regions light up
Melbourne isn’t the only place turning up the heat this winter. While a laundry list of A-plus festivals, exhibitions and events – like Rising and The Picasso Century – have made the icy onslaught a bit more bearable in the CBD, some just-as-exciting things are happening beyond city limits, in Victoria’s regional hubs. Thanks to Switzerland-based artist Dan Archer, you no longer need to travel across the world to see the northern lights. Well, sort of. This winter, an entrancing light installation will drop a version of the natural phenomenon – aurora borealis – in Victorian spa country. Plus, discover a field covered in thousands of illuminated native flowers at Moama Lights, and dance alongside a roaring beach bonfire at Winterwild. Here’s our round-up of regional festivals and events worth travelling for.
Prepare to be hypnotised
If there’s one play you see this year, let The Picture of Dorian Gray be it. (The season’s been extended, so you now have even more chance to see it.) The new, truly genius adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s timeless classic – currently showing at Arts Centre Melbourne – might just be the most scintillating two hours of theatre you see this year. There’s just one actor, Eryn Jean Norvill, and it’s impossible to take your eyes off her – and not just because she mesmerisingly embodies all 26 characters herself. On top of that, there’s technical wizardry and zeitgeist-capturing themes. I can’t say much more without giving too much away – see it.
It’s truffle time
With truffle season well and truly underway, some of our favourite Melbourne restaurants are doing one-off events and dishes dedicated to the fancy fungi. Nomad is hosting dedicated truffle brunches, where the potent stuff features on ham-hock hash browns, three-cheese manoush and even ice-cream sangas. Lucas Restaurants has decadent truffled parmesan gnocchi at Lillian Brasserie, and it’s available shaved by the gram at Society and Grill Americano. Elsewhere, Poodle is devoting a whole night to truffles on July 21 (expect truffled camembert fondue and truffle-parfait bombe alaska); Chancery Lane is doing the same on July 19 and 20. If you’re bunkering down at home, Providoor is delivering truffle-topped dishes from Matilda and Estelle, plus 1.5-kilo T-bones with truffle butter ready for slathering.