Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Church St Enoteca

527 Church St,
Richmond, 3121 

Often the hardest part of starting a blog entry is the opening. In the case of Church St Enoteca the difficulty stems from the fact that it is a very enjoyable restaurant but seems to lack a wow. Looking at some other reviews of Church St Enoteca it is commonly described as "the quiet achiever" and it is hard to argue against it.

First impression of Church St Enoteca is that it is quiet, clean and classy. By quiet I don't mean empty, just a peaceful atmosphere compared restaurants like the neighbouring Royal Saxon.

Sitting down to our table it was great to see that white linen is not dead, for all the claims that Melbourne is embracing "casual" dining, I still think a dining room that is dressed for the occasion helps to set the right mood.

Going over the lunch menu, it is difficult to go past the two courses with wine for $29.50. I tend to see lunch offers like this as a double edge sword, sometimes they impress enough to go back for a broader dining experience, other times getting the quality and quantity at the price point right is too hard to deliver a fair reflection of the full capability of the restaurant.

Duck ragu with spinach and pecorino romano

The entree of potato gnocchi was a great start, generous chunks of duck meat swimming in a well seasoned ragu matched well with the fluffy gnocchi.

Braised suckling lamb, parmesan crust and set white polenta
Main course of lamb came out and I realized I made a tactical error in ordering, it was a case of déjà vu. While not identical to the entree, it felt familiar, delicious chunks of braised meat in a slightly thinner sauce compared to the entree paired with polenta rather than gnocchi. That said there was nothing to fault, the lamb was cooked perfectly and pairing with polenta is a good choice.

So in this case the express lunch experience was a win and will certainly get me back there, great service, quality Italian food in a great setting. What is there not to like in this quiet achiever? Not much at all!

Church St Enoteca - 14/20.
Church St Enoteca on Urbanspoon

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