• to fail to impress or stimulate.
  • to fail to interest or astonish:
  • no feeling of excitement about or admiration for something or someone: 
  • If you are underwhelmed by something, you are not impressed or excited by it.
  • … jaded, bored, tired, disappointed, let down,

A couple of years ago we had a fun, vibrant, interesting, exciting, dynamic, and world-leading restaurant industry. Lead by passionate, innovative, creative, and ethical chefs. The outlook for fine dining in Australia was good with many overseas chefs vying for spots and ex-Michelin chefs hanging out their shingles down under.

Then Covid came along and made the survival of cafes and restaurants almost impossible. But somehow, like the Australian bush after a bushfire, many – if not most – have survived, regenerated, and are back serving up classic Australian cuisine to an eager public. The great post-bushfire revival. A very Australian thing.

But something seems to have changed. It’s hard to put my finger on it. The magic seems to have disappeared. The previous energy is lacking. There is no sparkle.

We all know the problems of getting and retaining staff and in providing good service. But that does not excuse menus that seem to be boring, predictable, and quite frankly, expensive.

“Once the accountants get involved, the romance fades”. Marco Pierre White.

“Worth a Detour” is about places that are – well – worth a special trip. Places that I would return to and recommend to friends. Places that excite me. Places that I am proud to support. Not necessarily expensive restaurants but also good value cafes and bars. Not just modern gastronomy but satisfying comfort foods.  Places that make me feel good. Places I could make a regular haunt.

Since covid, I have been out and about. To cafes, bars and restaurants. Old and new. They are mostly ok. Good quality – but mediocre. The staff are trying. Yet almost all have left me…


Some I might go back to. Others not. I certainly have not found many places that I would recommend. They just seem to lack that certain “je ne sais quoi”.

This is, of course, difficult for “Worth a Detour” as well as for other review sites, which are all about places that excite the taste buds.

In the traditions of Henri Gault, Christian Millau, Michelin, Anthony Bourdain, Grimod de la Reynière, Anton Ego and others, I want to tell you about places that are not just good – but great.

Places that go beyond the normal. Places that are worth the price – regardless of the bill. Places that excite and tantalise. Places that surprise you. Places that are indeed worth a detour.

My problem, at the moment, is that these places are few and far between. However please bear with me and let’s find those magical places. They can be a 3 star restaurant but may also be a hole-in-the-wall café. They just have to be – worth a detour.  

Venues on Worth a Detour are measured by a positive answer to the following…

Would I go back?

Am I excited enough to return?

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Am I confident that others will agree and how does its recommendation affect my own image and self esteem?

Does it have something different and is it worth visiting?

Does it have that “WOW” factor?

And I would add – places that serve dishes that are not available in your local supermarket…   

If you have any suggestions – please let me know. Jeremy@worthadetour.com

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