Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

Eating and Cooking all the things in Melbourne

Melbourne Food Review: Church St. Enoteca, Richmond

We wanted a nice dinner out before hitting the pub with the boys from Josh’s work and Church St. Enoteca has been on our to-do list for a while and since the pub we were going to in the area, there was no better place to be for our little dinner.

(Church St. Enoteca, Richmond – its dining room)

We got there a bit early at about 7pm and the dinging was still light-filled (this was January, by the way). It was still sparsely populated for the night and we got a table near the kitchen, where we could see the entire dining room in action.

(sea salt focaccia with olive oil, salt and pepper)

Our waiter brought us some nice salt focaccia, olive oil and salt and pepper. The bread was lovely and fresh and the oil was grassy. I loved it. We pondered the menu for a while and we settled on on an entree to share, a main each, a side salad to share and leave room for dessert.

Our entree arrived ten or so minutes later. And it was a really visually stunningly dish. One of  the one thing about being a food blogger is that you take the time to really look at the dish before taking a picture of it.  When you are presented with a beautiful dish such as this, it’s such a bonus to take some time to sit back and really look at it. Or that’s the excuse I use to tell my dining companions to explain why they should wait a while for me to take photos!

(Goat’s curd fritter with black figs, roasted baby beetroots, balsamic dressing – $20.00)

The fritters were crunchy (a little bit too crunchy, actually) with soft, salty goat’s curd which was really well balanced by the sweet figs (I love figs) and the rich, tartness of balsamic vinegar. Strangely enough, the yellow fruit confused me until I tasted it and figured out that they were the golden beetroots.

(Wild barramundi fillet w/  pancentta,  zucchini flower stuffed with bacala, sauteed zucchini and leek – $37.00)

I settled on the wild barramundi fillet because, well, I totally had a thing for zucchini flower at the time! I hate it when Josh does his mind reading thing. The sauteed zucchini and leek was buttery and silky and the fish was fresh and perfectly cooked with lovely crispy skin. Unfortunately, that’s when the perfectness of the dish ended.

The bacala (salted, dried cod) stuffed in the zucchini was over powering and when paired with such nice little zucchini flower, it missed the mark. Worse still, the orange sauce (I can’t remember what it was meant to be) was so badly vinegary and overpowering that it almost ruined the fish. The saving grace was that the fish fillet was rested on the greens rather than directly on the sauce. So I quickly took the fish off the sauce. The crispy pancetta again was slightly too salty for such perfect piece of fish.

(Abbacchio all Romana – Braised suckling lamb with semolia gnocchi – $36.00)

Josh’s choice of main arrived with a big plate empty and followed by dramatic appearance of the waiter serving his abbacchio from a copper pan. We were suitably impressed with the fuss. The lamb was beautiful and tender and Josh loved it. I tasted a little bit of the semolia gnocchi and found it to be very average compared to the lovely semolina gnocchi served the Grand Hotel down the road. But Josh loved his dish and I was slightly disappointed with mine. Sour grapes maybe.

(Wild rocket with shaved pear and Parmagiano Reggiano – $11.00)

We also ordered a side salad of rocket, pear, and parmesan. I liked the idea of shaved pear in the old rocket salad so I’m going to try this at home. This side salad was a bit average. The dressing was a tad too much and the rocket leaves looked like they have been abused a bit too much.

(Bitter chocolate torta with gelato, raspberry coulis and nougat – $17.00)

The dessert list seemed simple and inviting and we decided on the bitter chocolate torta, which despite its name wasn’t at all bitter. It was rich and chocolatey and all the goodness that goes with it. I especially loved the little pieces of nougat that sat with the raspberry coulis and the gelato.

Overall, the dinner was on the pricey side and a bit of a hit and miss especially with my main course. But we did enjoy our experience there nonetheless. The dining space was spacious and classy without being too formal and posh and the waitstaff were lovely.

Church St. Enoteca
Address: 527 Church St, Richmond, VIC 3121
Phone: (03) 9428 7898