Sunday, November 1, 2009

The European - Melbourne

Name: The European
161 Spring St
Melbourne 3000 VIC

Phone: (03) 9654 0811

Average price: Entree: $9.50-26, Mains: $19.50-72, Dessert: $11-15.50

Complimentary: Slices of bread with garlic aioli.

The bread was cold but soft and the garlic aioli was a nice accompaniment.

We ordered dinner (there was a large group of us):

Entree: Salad of beetroot, marinated feta & pomegranate molasses - $19.50

From what I could see this looked nice. I thought it would lean towards the sweet side with the molasses and beetroot but there was only a touch of sweetness. It was quite citrusy, perhaps lemon juice? The feta was the strongest tasting feta I have had, not mild and creamy, more pungent and crumbly. There was something extremely crunchy, akin to uncooked cous cous but larger, we couldn't tell what it was as we could not for the life of us see what was in the salad. Overall it was nice, but I was expecting more pomegranate and less citrus.

Drinks: 6 Schofferhofer beers.

Mains: Seasonal mushroom risotto with truffle oil -$26.0

Once again it was so dark that I couldn't see what the seasonal mushrooms were. This was more like a mushroom rice than risotto - it wasn't creamy or cohesive. I could smell truffle but I couldn't taste it. The mushrooms and parsley were the only two flavours. I didn't eat much of this. Risotto seems to be the dish that has the highest failure rate for me.

Spaghettini alla marinara - $29.0

Gnocchetti with prawns, fennel & saffron sugo -$28.5

Henry ordered this, I overhead him saying it was a little chewy.

BEEF WELLINGTON with mushrooms & foie gras - $38.00

CHATEAUBRIAND : Salt roasted for two with pommes purée
sauce bourguignonne, endive & blue cheese salad - $72.00

Hubby loved this. The salad and bourguignonne vegetables were served separately in generous proportions. The dish came with three large slices of meat for each eater, as well as a large smear of pommes puree (more like mash in texture) and half a bone with some bone marrow in it. The boys ordered theirs medium rare and that's how it came. They enjoyed all of the components but had trouble finishing the sides.

Dessert: Banana soufflé, cinnamon doughnuts & ice cream - $15.50

A well executed souffle. It billowed high above the ramekins rim with a firm, sugary chewy skin keeping it upright. The souffle was feather light with the faint sweetness of banana, very light but lovely none the less. The vanilla ice cream was a little icy and flavourless, it sat on some yummy, crunchy biscuit crumbs. The cinnamon doughnuts were warm with a lovely sugary coating and a sticky doughy centre, I wish they had been a bit bigger. Overall both hubby and I enjoyed it, it wasn't overpoweringly sweet or heavy. Just enough to keep you satisfied.

Selection of fruit sorbets - $11.00

Cost: Around $297 for 2 entrees, 7 mains, 2 desserts - we also ordered around 6 Schofferhofer beers (don't know the price).

Service: Good. The entrees arrived at our tables before the ink had even dried on the waitresses' notepad. The mains however took a little longer, but not long. All of our orders came out correctly, and the birthday boy was even given a candle without us having to ask. Our glasses of water did remain empty a few times during the night though, the small 250ml glass probably didn't help that.

Atmosphere: Old charm. The decor reminded me of old European cigar bars - the chequered tiles have seen better days as have the well-worn wooden tables that wobble at the slightest touch with remnants of lacquer cluttered around the edges. The lighting is incredibly low, so low in fact the waiters had to use mini torches to check the bills, no exaggeration. The noise level, whilst not as high as Pearl in Richmond, was still loud enough to warrant raising the voice a few notches for the person next to you, and having to yell to the person 3 seats away. The crowd was generally older and mostly couples, I'd say it would be full of theatre goers mostly. The noise level does tend to make it feel more like a bar.

Parking: Street - at 7pm on a Sunday night there was some street parking, otherwise there are paid underground car parks.


Hours: Daily 7.30am-3.30am

Would I return: Maybe - whilst the food was good, the lighting made me sleepy and the noise was a little boisterous, my throat is aching today.

1 comment:

  1. Holy Moley!! Look at that souffle! Its defying least its looks were backed up with flavor!

    Once again, love your photography


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