It’s “IK”‘s birthday, thought we might try Saint Crispin which has been raving with excellent reviews, Melbourne’s restaurant of the year in 2013.
We opted for the 7 course degustation menu ($120 and $60 for matching wines) to try a variety of things on the menu and an element of surprise. Its a very cold autumn day in Melbourne, situated pretty much in the middle of Smith St in Collingwood. The restaurant is packed. Seems to have 2 seatings at 6pm and 8:00pm. Melbourne is moving away from the fine dining scene, and is going more the casual, boutique restaurant, yet still produce fine food. Mostly wooden tables along one whole end of the restaurant with a few bar tables and an open kitchen.
Started off with some bread and sour cream dip.
Started off with the Celeraic dish. quite refreshing, interesting black cabbage gave it a smokey taste to this.
Staff were experienced but were quite busy at times. Asked if we ate quickly as we needed to give the table back by 8pm. We said “not an issue”. We seem to eat our meals within 30mins most of the time!
IK had a sparkling for her birthday. Quite nice.
Second course was this salmon starter. Salmon seemed to be cured very well, quire refreshing with the vegetables. Never had this finger lime before, but quite interesting.
3rd course was this quail dish with a masterstock. Asian inspired, but quite clean on the palate. Wouldn’t mind having this every night!
This Fourth dish was a Bass Grouper with gnocchi and i think curry sauce? (Wasn’t on the menu) And we couldn’t remember what the waiter said it was ! (sorry!) . “IK”‘s one was a little salty on one side. Maybe it was a bit uneven with the seasoning. I found mine to be fine. Quite delicious.
The Fifth course was the Pork belly crackling with beans. IK found hers a bit too salty again. Mine was ok. Quite fattening in the middle, but the crackling was just perfect. It was some how crunch on top and also chewy. Meat was soft and juicy.
Time for desserts!. In hindsight, we should have ordered another savoury dish. The desserts let us down a bit. Maybe it wasn’t our type of desserts, and plus we were going to On Nom after this! This Fig with dates and Yoghurt was actually quite nice. IK didn’t like fig and stewed fruits so didn’t have the fig. Not to worry, I had her fig.
Last dish definitely was not IK’s favourite dessert. BANANA souffle with ice-cream. Souffle was actually done quite well, Banana was quite rich. IK never liked Bananas as she was forced to have a Banana on the toilet every day when she was a kid.
I happily finished my souffle.
Overall, interesting dishes and fairly decent portions for the degustations. Would have chosen another savoury over the desserts which was let down a bit. Maybe over seasoned with the pork and fish. The atmosphere was a bit noisy as it was crowded. Food was a tad slow at times but forgivable given it was full house.
Slightly disappointed with the desserts, otherwise would have given slightly higher score.
Other places to ponder whilst on Smith St
Huxtable – 131 Smith Street
Easy Tiger – 96 Smith Street. Another Asian fusion. Thai inspired.
Northern Light – New Asian Fusion. IK hates fusion. I still want to try given the hype about it.
Gorski & Jones – 304 Smith St . Right next door. Heard about it but never been.
Rockwell & Sons – 288 Smith St. American, Gastro-pub.