Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The European

The European is a Melbourne institution. Evoking the sophistication and old-world atmosphere of the bistros of the continent, with its bent wood chairs and round tables, The European serves wonderful food brimming with classical flavours and techniques. It's a Saturday night, and the restaurant is packed by 6.30pm when I stroll in on the arm of a most debonair and yummy man. Unfortunately he is the partner of another equally debonair and yummy man, but he's all mine tonight.

My hot date loves seafood, so we start off with the Potted Crystal Bay Prawns. Cutely presented in a sardine can, they are swimming in garlic and go down a treat, smeared on their accompanying toast. It's the details, like dipping the lemon in paprika, that add a certain panache and flair to the food. I think I'll steal this idea for my next dinner party.

I order the Black and White Linguine with fresh crab, tomato, basil and bottarga. It is utterly delicious. The bottarga, which is salty pressed fish roe, gives the dish a cheeky kick and makes me wish I wasn't swapping mains with my friend half way through. Swap time. 

The Roasted Moreton Bay Bug and Smoked Trout Tortellini is good, but not as good as the linguine. It doesn't have that delightful assault on your tastebuds, but none the less, is a well-balanced and elegant dish with its succulent morsels of buggy flesh and lovely fresh al dente pasta. I opted for Rosé to drink as the heavy, wintery red I was craving would have been overbearing with the seafood. Rosé nestles beautifully in that grey area between, red and white. It is bursting with cherry and has more body and length than a lot of Rosés. Nice work.

For the regular reader, you know of my penchant for soufflé, so dessert has to be the Banana and Date Soufflé with Caramel and Walnut Ice-cream. It is a stunning soufflé. It's my friend's first dance with Mademoiselle Soufflé and she does not disappoint; graceful, refined and light. It's the perfect way to end such a splendid meal.

As we stroll out of The European, and face the glorious vista of Parliament House, lit up like a dizzy chandelier, we really could be in Europe: France, Spain, Italy, Austria. Perhaps soon we will be. 

The European on Urbanspoon

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