Church St Enoteca | Virginia Plain

Disclosure: These are restaurant invite posts

Church St Enoteca

527 Church St
Richmond, VIC 3121
03 9428 7898
Church Street Enoteca on Urbanspoon

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This meal happened before my trip to South America. When I asked Fakegf along, she got quite excited, saying that there are a number of Enotecas around Melbourne, but this one is meant to be the best amongst them. Plus, it’s been consecutively one-hatted.

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That’s how we ended up in Richmond one Monday night, snug in a restaurant with Art Deco lamps, classic prints, mahogany chairs and white tablecloths.

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It felt like we were transported a couple of decades back, to simpler times…

…and I mean that in a good way.

Church St Enoteca 3 Prosciutto, Aged Balsamic And Figs 21
Baked figs stuffed with goats curd, 24 month prosciutto, aged balsamic and grilled flatbread

Our first entree comprised of warm figs… juicy fresh and gently sweet, stuffed with comforting goats curd and then a sprinkle of balsamic glaze. They were excellent… I’d even venture to say “give us less prosciutto and more figs!”.

Church St Enoteca 6893 Tagliatelli With Zucchini Flowers 17
Fresh tagliatelli with asparagus, squash, zucchini flowers and herbed ricotta 

We then shared an entree sized pasta, the highlight being how, for once, we’re eating zucchini blossoms that aren’t stuffed and deep fried. I enjoyed its mild flavour but thought the pasta itself was on the hard (undercooked?) side, although Fakegf vouches that it’s al dente.

Church St Enoteca 6919Salt Crust Hapuka Fillet With Grilled Scampi 41
Hapuka baked in a salt crust with grilled scampi, bow fish caviar, gremolata and panzanella salad

Fakegf’s main course involved fresh hapuka, curiously baked in a salt crust pastry. You actually don’t eat the pastry, just the fish.

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And I’m such a lucky boy, Fakegf neatly plated a small tasting serve of her seafood dish for me. The grilled scampi was remarkably sweet.

Church St Enoteca 2Church St Enoteca 6934Abbacchio Alla Romana 38
Braised suckling lamb with a parmesan crust and gnocchi alla Romana 

Our waitress said that this lamb dish has always stayed on the menu because it’s very well received. True enough, I found myself loving the richly fragrant gnocchi to pieces. The lamb, however, wasn’t that fall apart soft, but it was juicy and coated with a crust of toasted cheese.

A good dish that’s perfect for those with hearty appetites, it’s very very filling.

Church St Enoteca 6941Church St Enoteca 6944“Peaches And Cream” 17
Blood peach parfait, grilled peach, amaretti and saffron jelly

For sweets, we first shared a light and fruity dish featuring very in-season blood peaches. Very nice.

Church St Enoteca 6959Coffee and Doughnuts 17
“Church St Enoteca” layered tiramisu, espresso foam, bomboloni

And we ended with a richer dessert of tiramisu with mini donuts. Fakegf liked both desserts.

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Heartwarming Italian fare in a classic setting, that’s how I’d describe this place. I’d like to thank the restaurant for having me visit.

Virginia Plain

31 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, VIC 3000
03 9290 0400
Virginia Plain on Urbanspoon

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Virginia Plain happened after my South America trip. This time, it’s more of a group lunch for food bloggers, with a masterclass afterwards.

Virginia Plain 02Virginia Plain 01Oyster shot with sake foam and warm dashi

The restaurant was kept empty that Saturday, it was just the group of us… pretty surreal!

Virginia Plain Flocuisto Masterclass 2306Char grilled heirloom zucchini salad

I only snapped photos of the dishes that I ate, and trust that my companions will document their dishes on their respective blogs.

My vegetarian entree was good. I enjoyed the counterpoint between the citrusy sweetness in the salad with the earthy notes of beetroot.

Virginia Plain Flocuisto Masterclass 2313Fish of the day with summer greens

For mains, I chose pan fried snapper with lemon butter sauce. Simple and good.

Virginia Plain 03Warm chocolate mousse with cherries | Strawberries & cream

For dessert, I chose strawberries & cream. With my first spoonful, it suddenly dawned on me how lucky we are to have so much good food in Melbourne. I loved the strawberries’ tartness, which counterpointed nicely with the other sweeter richer components.

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After lunch, we were given a very interesting masterclass. First lesson covered how to make chicken liver parfait. I’m unlikely to want to cook this dish, so I didn’t pay that much attention.. my bad!

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Chef Flocuisto then gave us a few pointers on how to nail a perfect steak. He did a quick second chargrilling after cutting the meat, and oh boy… that made it taste even better! Too bad I don’t have the kitchen capabilities to create big-ass cooking flames.

One of the biggest tip I learnt here was how you should rest the meat for the same amount of time that you took to cook it. This allows the muscle to relax and for the meat to become tender.

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Lesson three focussed on how to make the perfect soufflé.

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The demonstration went really quick and, being a rather crappy baker, I think it’ll be a long while before I’ll want to attempt this dessert for any guests.

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But I ate the end results from that demonstration very happily! :D

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Virginia Plain seeks to provide good food in a relaxed setting, and I think they are doing it right. I’d like to thank Mat Beyer for inviting me to this gathering. Looking at the menu, I’m quite keen on coming back to try out the (affordable) tasting menu.

To read my fellow bloggers’ thoughts about this meal, check out I-Hua and Barley Blog’s posts.