Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

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It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Syracuse Restaurant & Wine Bar

23 Bank Place, Melbourne, VIC 3000.

Last night we got taken out by our friends Genine and Tim for dinner to celebrate the purchase of their new city apartment - slap bang in the middle of Collins Street’s financial district.

When looking for a place to eat, we strolled up Bank Place, past the “historic” Mitre Tavern (had the usual argument about whether it was the oldest or second oldest pub in Melbourne), and then walked through the glamorous curtained narthex of ‘Syracuse’.

Syracuse, the city, is in Sicily, but I wouldn’t typify the food at its namesake restaurant as Italian.  It’s more of a high (HIGH) food blend of European cuisines with a kind of road kill twist.

I ate pigeon.  I don’t know if I’ve had it before, but it was a bit like quail, served on some chestnut puree.

‘Is it farmed or wild?’
Free range,’ our French waitress, from the Alps region, replied.  ‘But she is not from around here.  From the hills and valleys.  Very clean.’

I thought about that pigeon as I nibbled her wing.  She was a gourmet, with a penchant for red berries.

The menu also featured:
  • wallaby
  • crumbed pigs head
  • pheasant terrine, and;
  • scallop sashimi

… but they had normal stuff too.

With a twist, and presented with ornamental tasty smears of goo on the plates.

The wine list is intimidating.  We drank by the glass, which – while spreading the palate – also crucifies the wallet.  I can recommend the French wines I tried though.  Fantastic, particularly the white burgundy (a card-onnay).

The first thing I thought on arrival was: “I belong here”.

The décor is European and charming without being ostentatious; a café style restaurant very much in the vein of the European.  It reminded me a bit of that Toulouse LauTrec painting of the girl standing at the bar, with the bottles against a mirror, and warm timber interior.

So all in all?  Go thee hence.  Now. Expect to pay for the privilege, but you’ll be glad you did.  It beats going to a therapist and paying two hundred dollars an hour.  Sit for three hours, and come out feeling loved and massaged… even if predominantly sur la poche!

I give Syracuse a deserved seven out of eight tentacles.  Magnifique!


The Advisor said...

Laughed out loud at the pigeon gag; from your cloth cap wearing, pigeon fancying, whippet owning mate from the North.