In the crisp cold Melbourne winter night, hand in hand, the Red Macaron led me towards a historic building entrance labelled, Ernest and Young. Behind the great doorway, mimicking the rods of a magnificent pipe organ was a copper rod door with a framed picture of a Greek horse. Through the doors, brass shells fill the ceiling space like golden honeycombs and private nude leather booths for a casual yet intimate dining experience. Beta marks George Calombaris’s sexed up Press Club.
Mezethes From The Three Sides. An succulent, salty and smoky octopus skewer with chicken crumb, mayonnaise and tea leaves; a dish of crisp chestnut chips; traditional spicy and cinnamon buns; and bite sized tender mussels wrapped in kataifi pastry dressed in a sweet savory jus. Then the last piece of the puzzle – Hills Hoist of a sesame biscuit and cream, beetroot crisp with lavender, wild rice crisp with cod roe, and the ‘walnut’ of blue cheese and celery.
Green Greek Salad. Sweet Brussel leaves hold dollops of kale infused feta, smoky leeks, sharp acidic anchovies and broad beans. Beneath the leaves, a lake of creamy kale puree and a leaf of crisp kale.
Crab, Tuna with Puffed Rice. A smooth tartare retaining the clean flavours of fresh tuna and sweet salty crab meat, with the added earthiness of puffed wild rice, pickled onion and sharp parsley.
Whiting with Tzatziki. Deconstructed tzatziki with charred cucumber, cream, dill and chestnut crisps contrasting against a beautiful slender grilled whiting shining with its scaly tattoos untouched.
Marron, Tamara, Celery and Cauliflower. Tender, sweet marron resting on a rich, silky cauliflower puree, with tart pickled celery, spouted lentil, bittersweet praline and topped with a buttery tamara blanket.
Lamb Rib, Pastitsio, Miso Melitzano // Squid, Olive Oil crumb, Flowers. Precision cut meat and frenched bones, balanced on crisp rolls of pastitsio, dressed in a watercolour of jus and oil. For the pescetarian, juicy cuts of tender squid on a bed of herbs and flowers, covered with olive oil snow – herbaceous, salty and bitter crunch of the olive oil makes for an interesting dish.
Beef, Onion, Fava // Kingfish with Onion and Fava. Prime square of beef pan fried to crisp perfection topped with a slice of marbled wagyu beef, melted by the caramelised jus. Then a sprinkle of sea salt, fava bean puree, sweet poached leeks, smoky charred onion petals, crisp onion rings and pine nuts.
A little lemon palate cleanser of lemon sorbet, curd and liquor with bites of fennel.
For the sweet finale, a Golden Plate Brûlée. Soft luxuriant cushions of caramel crème chantilly, chocolate ganache, and light sponge encased by a golden shell of burnt caramel and crystals of liquour of cypress.
With each step of the journey, our eyes and heart were captivated by the moment – a moment which will last a lifetime or two.
- Price: $$$$
- Location: hidden away, quiet yet central
- Service: 5/5