22 year old Melbourne chef Charlie Carrington has taken inspiration from an eight month trip spanning 15 countries for his new – and very first – South Yarra restaurant Atlas Dining, hoping to channel vast influences from the likes of South American, North America, Europe, and Asia. A casual restaurant that constantly evolves with “no rules” is what Carrington has set out to achieve for Atlas, which is now just over a month into operation and gaining some huge traction on the scene, with the first iteration of the menu focusing on Vietnamese until the end of this year.
Atlas will explore different cuisines of the world as the seasons change, a concept which Carrington says came about out of “fascination for this planet and its many cultures”.
“Australia is such a multicultural place and I think our food should reflect that”, said the young chef who since the age of 16 has worked at the likes of Firedoor and Marque in Sydney, various restaurants in London, Antwerp, San Fransisco, Mexico City, Singapore, and La Paz, as well as Melbourne’s Vue De Monde. “I was once asked to cook a family meal at a restaurant I interned at. The only condition was it must be Australian – they laughed when I served a spread of Northern Thai food inspired by my recent trip to Thailand. Unknown to me at the time, this was one of the fundamental causes for me to being this journey.”
Various regions in Northern Vietnam – from Hanoi to Sapa – have informed the current menu at Atlas, so diners have been enjoying the likes of Wagyu Beef Pho and Squid with fermented daikon, house made tofu, and onion. Once Melbourne floats into summer Carrington plans to take the menu down to Southern Vietnam.
With just enough seating for 50 people, Atlas currently offers several four and six course tasting menus along with a selection of smaller plates for those dining at the bar. Local ingredients are the main focus for the kitchen, with Carrington making full use of wood cooking techniques which he learned under the guidance of Firedoor’s Lennox Hastie. The wood fire oven, hearth and kitchen are all on display for diners to watch thanks to some very open design by Sydney-based architects Belinda Pajkovic and Tamara Frangelli. Those dining in the courtyard can expect banquette seating around a custom designed fire pit to add a little theatre to this casual dining experience.
Atlas’ beverage list features cocktails which will change to mirror the cuisine, wines mostly from Australia and Europe, and a range of local Victorian ciders and craft beers.
Ahead of the next substantial menu change in January, Carrington will be flying to Israel to absorb a few ideas, indicating an interesting pattern where constant travel and cultural immersion will then inform the continuous evolution of Atlas, truly bringing a profound meaning to the restaurant’s name.
Address: 133 Commercial Road, South Yarra
Hours: Tues-Sat 6pm-late