There was a mad scramble for dinner reservations when word first got out about Champions Bistro. Occupying the dining space in an unassuming suburban bowls club in Melbourne’s South, most sessions were booked out months in advance due to the limited span of the temporary restaurant. It is only now, after a few extensions due to popular demand, that Clinton and Ali are taking a short hiatus in September to rest and recharge. Without neglecting to signing in at the front counter leading to the bistro, we catch glimpses of smoke wafting up from plates and a collective of interesting looking bites which had us highly anticipating our meal.
Hi, my name is Catherine and I will travel for good food. When George Biron and Diane Garrett, co-owners of Sunnybrae, decided to let go of their hatted restaurant, word eventually spread that it had transitioned into the safe hands of Dan Hunter after his departure from Royal Mail Hotel, one of Australia’s top rated restaurants. We took the opportunity to use Mr A’s birthday as an excuse to visit which also happened to coincide with the blistering heatwave that Melbourne was enduring. We had the air conditioning blasting and some St ALi bottled iced lattes in hand, so we were ready to take on the long road trip.
The smell hits you as soon as you walk in – pungent, intense, nutty all in one hit. Our friends are seated at the communal table down the back but we can’t help lingering by the display windows filled with copious and seemingly never-ending wheels and wedges of cheese hailing from all over the world. Mmm… cheese.