Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Circa, the Prince

Location: 2 Acland Street, St Kilda, VIC 3182
Phone: (03) 9536 1122
Link: www.circa.com.au
Cuisine: Modern Australian, French, European

I've started trawling through my photos from restaurants for which I still have reviews outstanding. Don't ask how many there are.

My first and only experience at Circa was actually dinner at my first professional conference last year. So the meal was served function-style, and no doubt a real a la carte experience would be much much better. It's also been a while since I was there, so some of the details are a little hazy,

EntrĂ©e is either a Thai Wagyu beef salad or a salmon gravalax, served alternatively. 

Thai style Wagyu beef salad, toasted rice
I'm served the beef, which consists of thinly sliced grilled Wagyu, doused in a zingy Thai dressing and topped with crunchy bits of toasted rice.

sugar cured salmon gravalax, warm dill pancakes and finger lime dressing
The salmon looks impressive, and I hear good reviews.

For main course, it's a choice between slow cooked lamb or harpuka. A bit of a sucker for slow cooked meats, I order the lamb.

slow cooked lamb crusted in tomato, caramelized onion and red peppers
The serving is generous, the lamb is soft and tender and cooked just right. The caramelized onion and peppers add a nice sweet contrast to the meatiness of the lamb. The only thing I'm missing is some zing, perhaps some fresh herbs or a wedge of lemon to help cut through the richness of the dish. But for a function this size, the dish is far better than expected.

harpuka, crushed kipfler potato with green olives, oven dried tomato, basil and artichoke

nougat praline semi freddo, strawberries, warm doughnuts
I didn't grow up a sweet tooth, but I've developed a real appreciation of desserts over the years. In particular, desserts that don't feature chocolate. Don't get me wrong, among the best desserts I've tasted are a chocolate pudding and a chocolate pudding, but I have a huge respect for any restaurant that can make a star dessert without chocolate.

The semi freddo was light and airy and topped with a fresh strawberry sorbet. The praline was crunchy and very much toffee goodness. The doughnut was nothing special, and did kind of confuse the dish a little.

chocolate pave with coconut ice-cream
The other dessert was the talk of the night. Chocolate, of course.

petit fours
And to finish off, tea or coffee, accompanied by little bite-sized snacks. Simple, tasty and a nice way to end the evening (along with the drinking of course).

Overall Impression: 8/10
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