At The Bar with Serai Chef Ross Magnaye

Renowned Melbourne chef Ross Magnaye is one of three founders behind Serai – a much loved city restaurant in the heart of Melbourne, with its culinary pulse on all things Filipino. This is where celebrity chef Jamie Oliver nabbed a table a few weeks back and couldn’t stop singing its praises, and where the late Jock Zonfrillo also loved to dine.

Now, Ross Magnaye is part of a fabulous line-up of Melbourne chefs joining the Australian Open’s culinary hit list in 2024.

Magnaye is part of the AO’s Pan-Asian culinary journey at Fusion Feast – sharing the spotlight with others including Daughter in Law’s Jessi Singh, Moonhouse’s Scott Lord and Diana Chan. It’s a chance to try some of the dishes Serai is known for.

He talks to The Write Drop for our At The Bar series – revealing his favourite interstate bar, a Parisian wine list that still stands out, and which South Australian winemaker he think is the most underrated.

MY CITY

Davao city, Philippines. It’s my hometown and where I was born. So many beautiful memories as a child and that’s where most of my family is. It’s still an untouched part of the world and I think it has one of the best beaches on the planet.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

Eating my mum’s chicken and pork adobo is the best food memory for me. Nothing beats mum’s cooking and every time I’m sad or exhausted, it re-energises me and gives me life.

FAVOURITE BAR MEMORY

Septime du cave – a little wine bar in Paris which has one of the best wine lists in Paris and in the world. The vibe is awesome and I spent time there with my friend Stephen Moore from Shelter Bali which was extra special.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU 

I had to ask my girlfriend this and she said spicy margarita. I think I have to agree with her. It’s also one of my favourite drinks. Salty, a little bit spicy. Sweet and sour. Perfect balance. It can be full on, but it can also be amazing. Gives you a hangover though.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

Fried chicken all day every day.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

I recently visited Bar Merenda in Daylesford with my partner. I can’t remember what I drank, but I love the mood, the food, drinks and especially the company.

FAVOURITE WINE

I think Mitch from Eleven Sons is my favourite winemaker at the moment. His new wine Oceanic Feeling by Eleven Sons is absolutely amazing.

FAVOURITE WINERY

Philip Lobley Wines is my favourite winery and also my favourite winemaker in Australia. He is the best, and his wines are underrated. Delicious,  asy drinking and great price point too.

BEST DRINK NEWCOMER

Bridget Mac from Werkstatt Wines. Her Rieslings are out of control and incredible. She is also super lovely and down to earth.

NEXT DESTINATION 

I’m going to Mexico early next year with my partner and I cannot wait. I can’t wait to spend time together in the city, beaches and dive into the beautiful culture. I know the food and drinks are going to be next level. We’re also staying in a couple of cute places.

 

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