Experience No.054 in Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences. If consistency is the hallmark of a great chef, then Michael Ryan is one of Australia’s greatest. Ryan seems to earn accolades and awards in whichever kitchen he lays his chef’s hat, be it the Milawa Cheese Factory, Warden’s Food & Wine Bar or the Range in Beechworth.
“Lovely often Japanese-inspired food” – Alla Wolf-Tasker
That all seems to have been mere dress rehearsal for his greatest achievement to date: Provenance Restaurant and Luxury Suites. Just 15 months old, Provenance has already pipped Best New Regional Restaurant and a hat and been labelled one of the best regional restaurants in the country.
The food is representative of Ryan’s talents, combining so many styles and influences from Middle Eastern to Mediterranean to Japanese and even African.
The signature starter, labelled by The Age as “the world’s most esoteric bar snack”, is a deboned anchovy served with its deep fried skeleton on top. It’s a testament to the skill and inventiveness of the owner/chef.
Local produce is the star of the show and appears in many interesting twists and turns. For example, the King Valley Murray Grey beef appears with miso butter, deep-fried silken tofu, soybean and wakame salad. Or the pan-fried duck breast, duck kibbeh, tomato, cucumber salad, iceberg lettuce and tahini.
At home in the grand old bank building of gold rush-era Beechworth, the high ornate ceilings and arched wooden windows are a slightly austere-mixed-with-twee setting.
Abstruse, individual and inventive, Provenance is well on its way to being the restaurant destination of Australia.
Where: 86 Ford St, Beechworth Vic. (03) 5728 1786, www.theprovenance.com.au
Did you know: Murray Grey cattle are an original Australian breed made by chance in 1905 by an Angus mating with a Shorthorn cattle. The breed created a record in Montana in 2008 for scoring a perfect ten for marbling and nine for tenderness – a result no other breed has achieved.