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Hallo, Grüß Gott, buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”.


It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here, just returned from a month long tour of the Alps. I hope (plan) to give each city we visited a review, and pass on any eating tips or associated recipes I gleaned over the coming weeks, as we work our way through winter here.


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Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The European

161 Spring St
Melbourne VIC 3000
ph: 9654 0811
www.theeuropean.com.au

Welcome to what makes Melbourne great as the food destination of Australia. It’s not this venue, in itself, but what it represents about Melbourne food.

Welcome to what makes Melbourne great as the food destination of Australia. It’s not this venue, in itself, but what it represents about Melbourne food. The European has been around a long time. Its quiet café interior is casual and reminiscent of, well, Europe. And the food is excellent, without being budget breaking.

Located opposite Parliament House and in the theatre district, excess wooden chairs hang from hooks on the wall at the back and the staff are relaxed in their professionalism and black aprons.

On my most recent visit there, I had the Manchego, an aged Spanish cheese, with fig salami as an appetiser - which I must say was an education. The fig salami was just that – figs. Rather like a fig paste. I can’t say that I’d have it again, but it was tasty and washed down with one of their European beers was an excellent start. I enjoyed a Czech Pilsner.

As a piscean, I am a fastidious fish eater, and think that the hallmark of any restaurant is the quality of the marinara pasta they make. The number of times I’ve been disappointed by tinned clams in heavy tomato on flaccid pasta I can’t tell you. But here, magnificent! The spaghettini – al dente. The fish, all fresh. Done with a garlic infused oil coating on the pasta, a feast fit for a king!

The melon sorbet comes in traffic light colours of watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe to create a well rounded palate cleansing experience.

If visiting Melbourne for only a short time, you could do far worse than choosing the European for lunch. I give it 7 out of 8.

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