Church St Enoteca

Apparently I have established myself well as the resident foodie at work, and as such was assigned the slightly daunting task of selecting a venue for our department’s end of financial year celebratory dinner. Choosing somewhere for a large group is always quite difficult. I feel like it’s getting harder and harder to find a half decent restaurant in Melbourne that:

1) Takes bookings

2) Will be available on a Friday/Saturday night at short notice

3) Accommodates dietary requirements

4) Is suitable for unadventurous palates, yet still has good food

5) Conforms to the old-fashioned entree-main-dessert format, rather than shared-style dining

6) Provides a basic level of service

7) Doesn’t charge $100 per head for absentees

From what I read about it in the Good Food Guide (yes, I live by it) it seemed to fit the bill and fortunately had room for 13 on a Friday.

Antipasti

We started with antipasti, which was quite nice, although not particularly generous. The highlights for me were the crisp grissini and the zesty lentil salad.

Beef ribs

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I don’t really know what was in this meal. The waiter was telling some people down the other end of the table what the specials were, I caught the words ‘beef ribs’ and immediately ordered them. They happened to arrive just as my tipsiness hit a peak, and unfortunately as they were a special I wasn’t even able to look up them up on the restaurant menu afterwards. All I know is that they were AMAZING.

I’ve been in a little bit of a beef rib frenzy lately: I just can’t go past them! They are always so meltingly tender, with a beautiful soft layer of fat next to the bone off which the meat slides so easily. Mmmmmmm. Ribs. Oh yeah, there was treviso too.

Line caught hapuka 

The fish flaked delicately and was amazingly soft and juicy. I had never eaten nettle before this; it was reminiscent of spinach and was a good match for the fish. Not sure that ‘crust’ was the right word though, as it was soft rather than crunchy or crisp. The broccolini had just the right amount of bite and was a perfect foil for the soft and delicate crab meat.

Goat’s milk panacotta 

The vanilla seed-flecked panacotta was silky smooth, the goat’s milk providing a subtle extra dimension of flavour. The super sweet strawberries, orange blossom scented Turkish delight and crunchy meringue made for a very exciting mix of textures and aromas. I felt they could have done without the champagne foam though, which had a very overpowering alcoholic taste that didn’t really do the delicate panacotta any favours.

Now here are some other pictures of things I didn’t eat, just to satisfy all your hungry food porn urges.

The verdict

The problem with the old everyone-gets-their-own-meal dining style is that it’s hard to really know what everyone else’s food was actually like: usually the answer is ‘oh yeah, it was good!’ and I have no way of knowing if they are being honest or just polite.

I only had three meals, which is unusually few for me at a restaurant in this price bracket. My food was excellent though, so perhaps I’ll just extrapolate :)

This review comes with a warning though – I judged on food only, and really paid no attention to the prices as it was a work function. A few of the urbanspoon reviews seem to suggest that it was on the pricy side. I guess it all depends on how much you are willing to spend on good food!

Overall a very nice place with a more traditional setting. Good for a first date.

Church St Enoteca
527 Church St
Richmond
 
Church St Enoteca on Urbanspoon

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