Saint Peter’s

6 Melbourne Place
Melbourne, VIC 3000
03 9663 9882

Allan’s review of Saint Peter’s caught my eye because the restaurant has a focus on sustainable seafood and produce, plus it’s 50% off the a la carte menu for the month of November! It’s a new joint, opened in mid October by Chef Maurice of Esposito. I think the opening special was both a gesture of goodwill and a means of generating interest.

I made a booking for the very end of November and convinced Castletime and Ees to accompany me. Gentle friends for a genteel evening. In typical Melbourne style, Saint Peter’s nondescript entrance is hidden in a laneway off busy Russell St in the CBD. Ees and I found the venue a little uncomfortable. The acoustics were a little noisy and the elongated layout of the restaurant just didn’t feel cosy. Service was congenial and attentive, our waitress was more than happy to explain to me which menu was eligible for the opening special.

We ordered a couple of tastes and chose an entreé each to share. Our mains were individual and the desserts were shared because we planned to have ice cream at Passionflower after!

We were first served with these complimentary appetisers. It’s essentially Japanese seaweed salad. The salad tasted over-seasoned to me, I’ve tasted better. And it didn’t really whet my appetite for the next courses to follow. I recommend that they change this starter, it just didn’t really harmonise with the rest of the meal.

Sydney Rock Oysters $3.50ea
Jumbo Oysters, semolina battered $5ea
The rock oysters were reasonably fresh. The jumbo oysters is hard to not like, anything fried tends to taste good. Hot outside and moist insides.  Once again, there was a Japanese slant to this as I could recognise the citrusy elements of Japanese Ponzu dressing in the sauce that came with the jumbo oysters. Also note the vast amount of cutlery beside Ees’s plate.

Carpaccio of Venison $6
Interesting that this dish has changed since Allan’s visit a mere few weeks back. Our pieces of venison are now completely raw. I loved it, there wasn’t a hint of gaminess. The venison was marinated in a tangy light dressing and there was a spicy kick to it as well.  It really reminded me of eating beef carpaccio when I was in Sorrento, Italy. Ees really liked the delicately marinated mushrooms too.

Seared Canadian Scallops with an essence of asparagus and spinach, salmon roe and baby parsley $19
Ees’s favourite entreé. Incredibly fresh and perfectly cooked scallops. All the other accompaniments were secondary to the fact that the scallops were infallibly good.

Quail, wrapped in pancetta, wrapped in fontina cheese and mushrooms, vine dried tomatoes $20
Castletime’s favourite entreé, I dissected the bird into 6 bits for the three of us to share. Beautifully marinated and nicely roasted, with hints of herbs and spices embraced with a robust lining of crisp pancetta. And there was a delicious stuffing of fresh cooked herbs inside the quail itself. Mmmmm..

Carpaccio of Yellowtail Kingfish, florets of broccolini, chervil and pomegranate dressing $19
Good fresh fish. But I kept thinking “isn’t this sashimi and shouldn’t we have some wasabi?” :D The grapefruit pieces and fried garlic chips did give each mouthful a special zing. But I wasn’t sure if I liked the combination. I also started noticing that practically every savoury dish was garnished with a delicate, garden cress-like herb. Is that chervil?

Note the mis-matched chairs. How quirky for a high-end restaurant!

King George Whiting, grilled with a salad of sugar snaps, fresh tomato and parsley $42
This was my main. I thought the fish was quite bland and kept adding salt to it. The chervil and cooked cherry tomatoes were also seen with the quail entreé so it felt like a repeat of ingredients. I also had to pick out fish bones from my mouth a number of times. Disappointing. At one point, I even thought I could get a more satisfying piece of whiting at my local fish ‘n chip’s.

Rock Flathead, slow-cooked calamari, parsnip puree, wild mushrooms and a Vin-Santo reduction $35
Ees did not comment much about this dish. He didn’t look like he enjoyed it very much. I sneaked a tiny taste of the fish and parsnip puree but couldn’t gather much of an opinion about it. LOL food-blogger fail!

John Dory, mud crab, white asparagus, radish and a warm Cinzano Bianco mayonnaise $38
Castletime seemed to like this dish a fair bit. The mound of mud crab salad kept calling out “taste me, taste me!!” but I behaved. Ha ha!

Chocolate Semi-freddo $21
I liked the desserts. We demolished both dishes very quickly. I particularly liked the chocolate sorbet on the right.

Poached peach, fresh berries and homemade vanilla bean ice cream $20
None of us ever had a poached fruit before, so we were curious. It wasn’t a particularly ripe or fragrant peach. And I know it’s quite wicked to say this, but after poaching, the peach had the same taste and texture of canned peaches! The vanilla bean ice cream was very beautiful though, but they were really tiny scoops, each about the size of a large strawberry.

I think this place has potential. Many of the tastes and entreés are really good and I also enjoyed the desserts. We found the portions really small but I suppose that’s quite expected for seafood.  I am glad we had the opening special because this place isn’t exactly affordable to your wallet, the bill reached $171 (after discount). After paying, we headed straight to Passionflower to appease our satiety centres with lots of ice cream. :D

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