Dylan Evans has done stints in some of the world's most famous kitchens, including Manresa in Los Gatos, California, Alinea in Chicago, and four months at Rene Redzepi’s Noma in Copenhagen.
Back in Melbourne – his hometown – Evans’s own restaurant on Swan Street is where he puts the skills he honed at those top diners and more recently at Fargo & Co (just across the road) to the test. Caddie is laid-back but atmospheric, with a "market-driven food" pitch.
There is a base menu, but Caddie also adds dishes developed on a whim along the way, which fit into the Evans vision for accessible food with slight twists.
Diners will find dishes made up of only three to five key ingredients. To start there are olives, oysters and a serving of brined lupini beans. Slightly bigger dishes include an omelette with smoked barramundi and cheddar, and beetroot with salted plum dressed in marigold vinegar. Mains include pasta with prawn, black garlic and bottarga, and steak served with pickled artichoke and bone marrow. To finish there’s a ginger tart with pear caramel.
While Evans appreciated the meticulousness of Noma’s approach, he was influenced most by the fine diner’s ability to put together unique combinations of a just a few ingredients that complemented and enhanced each other. This is something he also saw in three-month spells at Grant Achatz’s Alinea, and Manresa, a Michelin-starred farm-to-table eatery in Silicon Valley. He says the latter was the most inspiring place to work, for its flavour combinations and the vibrancy of its food.
Caddie is a much more relaxed affair – the menu is filled with food that Evans likes to eat.
Hence the nod to his childhood – a reinvented version of Welsh rarebit, inspired by the one his mother used to make for him. It’s a combination of melted cheddar, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and egg yolk, spread on toast.