We all have our favourite dining spots and nothing provokes greater debate than the latest release of a TOP TEN restaurant list – especially in Melbourne, arguably host city of the country’s best quality establishments. (of course, I live here…)
Circa, at The Prince in St Kilda, has long been held in high regard and is definitely in my Top Ten. (http://www.circa.com.au/) It’s undergone a reincarnation of sorts in the past eighteen months, since it was taken over by the Melbourne Pub Group. The vibe of the venue is now more relaxed, but the standard of dining far is still first-rate.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a special lunch this week, launching Circa’s new Spring Lunch menu. Under the guidance of MPG’s executive chef Stephen Burke, new chefs Ashly Hicks and Lyndon Tyers have produced a superb menu that’s also very affordable. This means you can enjoy lunch at one of Melbourne’s best restaurants, with two courses for $35 or three courses for $45. And yes, that includes a glass of wine.
The menu varies on the weekend, where the focus is more on seafood, so on Saturday and Sunday, the cost is $55.
The lunch on Wednesday was also sponsored by Moet and Chandon, so the bubbly was flowing freely in the courtyard before we sat down. Not many functions have free-flowing French these days, so I was in heaven before we even had a bite to eat.
Then we ventured into the restaurant where we were treated to a sample of what’s in store on the new menu. With every course, I had massive attacks of food envy, because I just wanted to eat everything in sight… Here’s how it went:
A choice of two items for entree….
Likewise, with the mains, it was difficult to pick which would be the tastier – suckling lamb or roasted Milawa duck? For me, the duck won hands down, not only with its colourful presentation, but the intricate flavours were more appealing than the more basic styling of the lamb.
But every one has different tastes and you can tell from the smiles at our table, there were happy customers all round.
The chefs excelled themselves with the desserts – both stunning in presentation, like works of art – and such delicate, melt-in-the-mouth flavours, it’s left me counting the days till I can return for more. (The meringue slices on the cheesecake were unbelievably light)
What better way to finish off such a superb gastronomic experience than with a couple of Expresso Martinis? This is a favourite cocktail of mine and one I’m rather fussy about but Circa do it with style.
So if you’re wondering where to plan your next social catch up or business lunch, now you know where to head. A guaranteed delight. If you’d like a closer look at what’s on offer, here’s a copy of the latest lunch menu:
Circa is at 2 Acland Street, St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia.
Ph – 9536 1122
The website is http://www.circa.com.au/
Opening hours are: