St Peter’s Restaurant & Bar
6 Melbourne Place (Off Russel St)
03 9663 9882
For those who have been to Esposito, you will be thrilled to hear Chef Maurice has established another restaurant in the heart of Melbourne, with particular emphasis on seafood and produce sustainability. They were having an opening offer for the month of November – 50% off the a la carte menu. So what better time to bring a group of friends to gorge on seafood … mmmm.
Nestled down a small laneway right next to the Kelvin club, you can occasionally catch glimpse of the coming and going of ‘discrete’ middle aged men decked in dark, long trench coats. Whilst they are intended to draw a protective veil in hope of disappearing into the backdrop, they seem to paradoxically draw light to themselves, projecting a sense of scandalous embarrassment… Sorry got a little carried away, letting my fingers and tangential thought process run free. Kelvin Club is actually a club for both men and woman =P, and one day there may be a review, or not.
As you turn into the south end of Melbourne place, the ocean blue mural quite easily catches your eye. In harmony with their seafood focus, the mural depicts a pirate clasping his wooden sword, riding the seas on what looks to me like a ‘tired’ turtle. The décor is one of simple elegance with a predominantly white canvas with splashes of deep burgundy-brown. Sadly I did notice their toilets are supplied with ‘nice’ hand-wash and creams, and uses washable hand-towels in tune with their sustainability ethos.
So enough of my ramble …
Tastes & Entrees… The corner 4 people (including me of course), decided on sharing a few tastes and entrees to make ordering easier, but you could’ve easily ordered individually as per preference.
Amuse bouche of Japanese seaweed salad – tasty with a stronger zing of lemon. I wonder if there will be Japanese influenced flavours at some point?
Sydney rock oysters ($3.5) – smooth and velvety on the palate, with a crisp alkaline freshness. A fresh oyster always marries well with lemon. But, there was also a soy-sesame sauce, which I happily combined with the lemon after taste testing with my fork. It added extra elements of savoury-roasty-sweetness, which was delightful. The sommelier was also quite helpful, even offering to allow me to taste test the options available by glass (no one else wanted to drink – otherwise more options by bottle).
Jumbo Oysters ($5) – with a light but crisp semolina batter, you could still easily discern the freshness of the oyster. I personally am not a fan of deep fried oysters, preferring to have them straight from the ocean (one day I’ll have to eat them on a boat off the coast, at a oyster farm).
Zucchini Flower ($7) – The beer batter though nicely golden brown, seemed to lack a crispy crunch. I’ve never had zucchini flower before (so correct me if I’m wrong), but the stem had a crisp bite with flavours similar to asparagus and the flower itself was somewhat mushy. The smoked eel mousse filling had a savoury creaminess about it; and seemed to remind me of soft roe (milt)… shivers, not my cup of tea. Personally, this was one of few subpar morsels we had.
Carpaccio of Venison ($6) – The girls thought this would be too gamy and opted out on this option. But contrary to belief, venison when butchered and executed correctly is far from being gamy. The surface was ever so lightly seared conferring a mouth watering smoky flavour with subtle peppery sharpness from the marinade. Though lean, it was melt-in-your-mouth tender with scrumptious umami flavours similar but different to beef – SUBLIME! The mushrooms also had a juicy and subtle raw gamy-ness about it. Such a bargain I must say, $6 / serving ($3 with the 50% discount). I would’ve ordered several more servings if we hadn’t already ordered so much.
Carpaccio – dish of raw meat or fish
Venison – lean red meat, from a deer
Seared Canadian Scallops ($19) – Lightly seared, the scallops were fresh and succulently juicy, and not at all chewy. Underneath lay a bed of asparagus, spinach, salmon roe and baby parsley puree that provided a subtle sweetness and acidity as well as an added bit of creaminess. Flavours and aromas married well, and did not overwhelm the mellow notes of the scallops.
Carpaccio of Yellowtail Kingfish ($19) – Kingfish generally has a leaner flesh than salmon / trout, but has a satisfyingly firmer bite when you sink your teeth into it. This was dressed with the subtle sweet-acidity of pomegranate and chervril. Personally I find kingfish needs more acidity, whether sweet or savoury, to off-set the leaner and slightly raw’er flavours, and so a little bit more generosity with the dressing would’ve been perfect, but a minor point really.
I ordered the Ocean Trout ($36). The fillet of trout was perfectly seared to a pink medium with perfect concentric symmetry (just look at that photo, yumz) and soft-silky flesh that still retains that layered texture. The golden brown trout skin though crispy, was slightly under seasoned. The dolcetto glaze and smear of honey (also coating the crumbles of cauliflower and coral mushroom) provided a delicate sweet component to the dish and again I found myself sponging the whole plate to get the most of it – a little more generosity please =). All the components were very much delectable, but didn’t quite come together as a whole, and seemed to lack a bit of sharp vibrancy.
Mr HY & Mr WF opted for the Fillet of grass-fed beef with wilted spinach, potato cake and red wine jus (250g), which was apparently nicely pink and very tender. The only complain being the size, given they were initially expecting a 600g version (which was on the ‘outdated’ online menu).
Mr CK’s Roasted Rack of Lamb with baby vegetables, mustard fruits and a red wine sauce ($36) was perfectly pink in the middle, and I could readily smell the aromatic red wine sauce wafting my way – salivates! I managed to sneak a bite and it was super tender and juicy!
Ms AL had the John dory – mud crab, white asparagus, radish and a warm Cinzano Bianco mayoinnaise. I don’t rememeber the review over this dish (I’ll update this when I have confirmed with Ms AL hehe).
It was getting quite late and we were all quite satisfied with our meals already, so to my dismay we didn’t have any dessert. Hrmph…
Rating: Yummy+1 – this place has a lot of potential. You may have noticed I’ve repeatedly used “fresh” in my descriptions and without a doubt their produce is amazing and throughout the night this was the raving-point for most if not all the dishes. They have chosen to keep their concepts and flavours simple, which is fine, but I find that occasionally it lacks a little in dynamics to enhance the protagonist (ie seafood) and bring together the dish. Service was attentive but at times clumsy. But, being mindful it is there opening month, given a little time to iron out these issues – I definitely look forward to returning.