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  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Victoria by Farmer's Daughters
    Victoria by Farmer's Daughters
  2. Victoria by Farmer's Daughters
    Victoria by Farmer's Daughters
  3. Victoria by Farmer's Daughters
    Victoria by Farmer's Daughters
  4. Victoria by Farmer's Daughters
    Victoria by Farmer's Daughters
  5. Victoria by Farmer's Daughters
    Victoria by Farmer's Daughters
  6. Victoria by Farmer's Daughters
    Victoria by Farmer's Daughters

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Farmer’s Daughters’ second venue is a produce-driven love letter to Victoria

Farmer’s Daughters’ second farm-to-table restaurant, Victoria, is bringing life back to Fed Square. Overlooking the Yarra River (and fittingly, a few gum trees), the 250-seater mega restaurant is an ode to the region; its farmers, producers, makers and artisans. And whilst it’s just as aesthetic as the Farmer’s Daughters at the swanky 80 Collins precinct, it’s not limited just to Gippsland produce like its big sister. It’s also seemingly the golden child.

The space is schmick and modern, with a theme of dark wood and tonal greens throughout that make it feel a little more casual than the original Farmer’s Daughters. It’s hard not to miss the four-or-so metre ingredients table as you walk in, a total piece of art made from reclaimed eucalyptus, the host tells us. It holds bowls on bowls full of Victorian ingredients and produce for you to look, touch and smell. It’s a nice sensory touch. The big open kitchen with an attractive fire is next in line for your attention – all a glimpse of what’s to come.

Perhaps the most exciting part about Victoria is that executive chef Alejandro Saravia and head chef David Boyle (both ex-Pastuso) have reunited to do what they do best: grill. The menu is meat-heavy, with most additions licked by the woodfire or blackened by charcoal. If you’re after dinner and a show, snag yourself a seat at the bar and watch on.

The starters begin with some Cobb lane sourdough and salted butter, both nice. If you’re hoping for a repeat – or some variation – of Saravia’s famous Farmer’s Daughters soda bread, you’re in for disappointment. On the bright side, it provides neutral ground for the Oakwood cured meats, which are faultlessly shaved to order on the deli slicer and accompanied by vibrant pickles that spruce things up. A rösti follows, made from creamy potatoes care of the Otways and topped with the sweetest of Bass Strait scallops. For a little bite, it shows a lot of Victorian heart.

The pressed Bannockburn chicken entree deserves its own moment; one of those dishes that will have you crawling back and hoping it’s still on the menu. There’s juicy pressed chicken! There’s crispy pops of chicken skin! There’s a sweet, sticky carrot relish! It’s inventive, a textural dream, and worth shouting from the rooftops about.

It should be noted that everything here is from the region. Everything? Everything. Except a few minor herbs, spices and Italian liqueurs – forgivable, surely. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and super attentive. They don’t miss a beat in telling you where the ingredients are from; what the art represents; where every little nod to Victoria hails from.

For a place that claims to have a seasonal menu, Victoria certainly walks the walk. The Western Plains pork loin is a generous wintry dish done right, grilled till tender and drenched in a dark beer sauce. It’s great, as is the half duck from Milla’s farm in Macedon that’s been given such TLC – aged, smoked and charred to produce a perfectly crispy-skinned plate that celebrates the entirety of the produce, cartilage and all. The only detraction being the bone marrow and duck fat gravy that, after a meat-heavy experience, begs for some relief to cut through the fat.

Thankfully, there’s wine to do the trick, and a solid wine list showcasing Victoria’s 21 wine regions (yes, all of them) curated by head sommelier Matt Jensen. By the glass it’s all pretty safe – a reliable list that skips on anything too funky. There’s a fruity but fresh 2021 Rising Gamay from the Yarra Valley, or the treat of a 2021 Giant Steps Applejack Pinot Noir in all its deep, tannic glory. The bottle offering is more revealing, and it’s clear that both Saravia and Jensen have forged relationships with local vineyards and producers. If you want to explore, there’s a 3000-bottle ‘wine library’ for those who want a deep dive, and for the Victorians among us, it’ll invoke a deep sense of pride.

A word of advice: dessert at Victoria shall not be skipped. The Starward whisky-spiked tarte tatin is joltingly good: it’s chewy, charry, smoky, glossy, and is absolutely the mic drop at the end of the performance. Eat it and weep.

Farmer’s Daughters’ new venue is designed to be a love letter to Victoria, but it’s more than that. It’s a Tom Cruise on Oprah’s couch moment professing absolute love for the region. How lucky are we?

Cjay Aksoy
Written by
Cjay Aksoy


Ground Floor, Yarra Building
Fed Square
Opening hours:
Thu-Sat 5pm-late; Sun 11.30am-5pm
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