The first comparison was price. The average bill at a Sydney restaurant was $57 while in Melbourne it was $52. No explanation was given for this, but cost of living is accepted to be higher in Sydney. Could this explain it? Mark Best of Marque (Sydney) and Pei Modern (Melbourne) claims that ingredients are 15-20% cheaper in Melbourne and rents are less expensive. Another theory is that Sydney residents are wealthier and like to be seen spending. Simon Thomsen, former editor of both the Queensland and NSW Good Food Guide claims “Melbourne diners with money spend it more discreetly than Sydneysiders keen to be seen splashing around their cash.” Perhaps this is why Sydney has a reputation for great fine dining? Terry Durack, the The Sydney Morning Herald's chief restaurant critic says Sydney’s dining scene is all laid out on a glittering silver platter. “There is huge pizazz, there are these incredible high-end, modern restaurants.” Melbourne in contrast is not so “In your face, it's hidden down laneways.”
The insight into when we dine was also interesting. When the temperature hits 30C or more then restaurant bookings soar in Sydney. It is the opposite in Melbourne. More people head out to restaurants when it rains. The CEO of Dimi Stevan Premutic pondered, “Perhaps Melburnians are drawn to the intimate, cosy restaurants when it rains.” It was also interesting to hear that diners in Sydney eat later than their Melbourne counterparts. The reason give for this was that in Sydney you can take advantage of alfresco dining options more so than in Melbourne.
What are your thoughts when it comes to comparing Melbourne and Sydney’s dining scene? Does Australia have a food capital?