At The Bar with Zac Shearer – Head Chef at Amphlett House

The arrival of Head Chef Zac Shearer at Amphlett House means we’re in for a treat – he’s driven by local and seasonal produce, aims for unfussy yet sophisticated dishes and makes the most of this CBD pitstop that’s a fusion of elevated taphouse meets restaurant and bar destination.

The slick interiors are tweaked by Samantha Eades of Mitchell & Eades, and the wine menu is in the very capable hands of wine consultant Alex Hudak.

Shearer, who worked in the kitchen with chef Ian Curley at French Saloon when he arrived in Melbourne from Tasmania five years ago, is now reunited with the hospitality legend who claims the title of Director of Kitchen Operations at Amphlett House.

This is where you head for elevated bar snacks and great cocktails. Zac Shearer talks to The Write Drop for our At The Bar series.

MY CITY

Growing up in a remote, small town on the northwest coast of Tasmania, there was always a real connection to produce. Moving to Melbourne in 2020, I fell in love with the variety of venues and the many different cultures around the city.

The best experiences are those low-key institutions that you walk into late and night and you know everyone by name. It reminds me of my small country town upbringing where you get honest food and warm hospitality.

One of my favourite places to eat in Melbourne is Kaprica in Carlton. Generally, I enjoy sitting outside with a bowl of spaghetti vongole. That’s Melbourne to me. Good simple food, with the chaos of Lygon Street carrying on in the background.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

Vue De Monde – I spent my 21st birthday sitting at the chef’s table in the original venue. I know a lot of people don’t spend their 21st quite like that, but we didn’t hold back.

FAVOURITE BAR MEMORY

It’s tough to name one, but anywhere I can sit, have a chat, and recover from the day. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve sat at Hatts and Tatts drinking something very upmarket like JD and coke (said jokingly), letting off steam at whoever is lucky enough to be behind the bar when I roll in.

DRINK THAT BEST DESCRIBES YOU

A classic, Carlton Draught. It’s always no fuss and easy to find, no matter what the latest trend is, you’ll always find it on tap.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

A Carlton Draught and a shot of Jamieson  every time.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

Tom McHugo’s in Hobart. It’s the perfect pub; you go there to relax but still always end up eating something new, clever and really tasty. The food and drinks are smart and delicious while the atmosphere is welcoming.

FAVOURITE WINER

I went to 10xTractor for the first time earlier this year and it was incredible. The food and wine were amazing, and the setup is clever and approachable even though you’re having a fine dining experience. I also can’t go past a Tasmanian pick, Pooley Vineyard, it was a favourite of my dad’s and knocks most others out of the water for me.

BEST DRINK NEWCOMER

I went to Byrdi just this week and I was so impressed by how they worked with flavours. It was elaborate for sure, but they delivered exactly what they said they would, and you could see the genuine passion and interest the staff had in what they put together.

NEXT DESTINATION

In the short term, I’d love to visit Sydney and try some new spots; Core by Clare Smyth is probably top of the list, I’m a bit of a fan. Also Porcine, Fontana, Pellegrino 2000.

A dream food destination for me would be Spain and France. My culinary training was very focused on the classics, making good sauces, and being across traditional techniques. Spain represents how I like to eat food now. Don’t mess with what’s yum. Food is about company and memory and I think Spanish cooking represents that.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW GIG AS HEAD CHEF AT AMPHLETT HOUSE
My ethos is all about creating a fun environment both behind the scenes in the kitchen and within the venue for guests. It is also important to me that I create yummy food using fresh and seasonal produce.

THREE REASONS WHY WE NEED TO DINE THERE

  1. Clean dining
  2. Technique driven
  3. Fresh and local produce

FAVOURITE BAR SNACK

Duck Parfait Eclair, served with Cumberland jelly and hazelnut. It has a lovely, elegant vibe whilst remaining simple and tasty.

FAVOURITE DRINK AT AMPHLETT HOUSE

The Limoncello spritz is a personal favourite, it reminds me of hot European summers. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with anything from our newly curated wine list, we have some great Australian producers on there.

 

Get Social

Newsletter

Don't miss

At The Bar with Alchemy Brewing Co’s Pim Muter

Alchemy Brewing Co’s Owner and Brewer Pim Muter runs...

At The Bar with Fiona Sweet – CEO of The Stella Prize

From Linda McCartney’s first major Australian retrospective to American...

A NON alcoholic vice with Aaron Trotman

Premium non-alcoholic brand NON has certainly made some serious...

At The Bar with Fashion Designer Estelle Michaelides

Melbourne fashion designer Estelle Michaelides is best known for...

At The Bar with Morena Sommelier Pablo Toledo

Head Sommelier Pablo Toledo showcases the best of Latin...