300 Smith Street
+61 3 9419 2202
Another culinary delight has been added onto the never-ending gastronomy heaven on Smith Street, Collingwood. When I heard that Scott Pickett (of the Estelle) was about to pair up with Joe Grbac (formerly The Press Club) open something new, I sniffed about frantically like a rabid dog, leg eager to be cocked. On their second week of opening, I snagged a table of three for a mid-week dinner.
Fakebooo and I caught up for pre-drinks at Agent 284 while awaiting our table. Having pathetic, almost next-to-none tolerance for alcohol, mocktails were in order. I had a berry cheesecake while Fakebooo indulged in a sparkly strawberry spritz. We practically had dessert before dinner. The Angmoh joined us soon enough, after patiently waiting for the Rudd/Gilliard poll to be finalised. Australia just wasn’t quite ready to be in the hands of a female. I applaud her strength and emotional tolerance for all the bull that was thrown her way in the recent tumultuous weeks.
Nevertheless, on a happier note, our table at Saint Crispin was ready and we shuffled onto scuffed wooden floor boards into a warm smokey dining hall that was once Cavallero. There is a choice of 2 courses for $50, 3 courses for $60 or a 7 course tasting degustation for $120. The second option suited us very well and we quickly chose our dishes.
We started off with potato crisps with bois boudran, finely chopped shallots, topped with vinegared salt. It was a fancy version of salt and vinegar potato chips with ketchup. The Angmoh’s duck was “succulent and rich”. It had a combination of meats: roasted breast, terrine and foie gras. It went smoothly with the sweet roasted beetroot. Fakebooo’s entrée came artfully presented on a pristine white plate. It too contained a combination of beef. The tartare was fresh and the bresoala of great quality. My dish had all my favourite breakfast elements: slow-cooked egg, cheese and mushrooms. The pullet egg oozed over sweet mushroom sponge and sharp parmesan foam. The addition of slippery jacks and pine mushrooms gave the dish an earthiness that was warm and comforting.
Halfway through our entrees, we realised that we had yet to be offered bread. This was quickly rectified with fluffy white bread and a delicious caraway and rye. Lescure butter and onion crème fraiche accompanied, to be slathered on generously.
My 2 boyfriends had the lamb as their main dish. The meat was rosily pink, salty, chewy and flavoursome. The slippery jacks were meaty and delicious and the nettle puree provided a green herbaceous fragrance. I had yet another vegetarian dish that evening. The Jerusalem artichoke was tender, the parsnip sweet and the Tuscan cabbage shredded and tender. The sprinkling of toasted sunflower seeds gave a crunchy pine-nutty contrast. It was an opulent winter dish.
Fakebooo’s dessert came as a chocolate delice with earl grey ice cream. The chocolate mousse was smooth and full of cocoa and I loved the delicate flavour of the ice cream. I was blown away by the caramel custard in my dessert. It had a deep toffee richness and a smooth velvety texture. I was told beforehand that the meringue in my dessert would contain traces of Sichuan peppercorn. Being a huge fan of Sichuan food and the obligatory peppercorn, I was highly anticipating a tingly feel as I dug into my dessert. Alas, my tastebuds failed to numb. The Angmoh’s cheese platter had a rich crumbly blue that was pungent and intense. It contrasted beautifully with the quince paste and fruit bread.
We waddled out of Saint Crispin, bellies happy, warm and full. A sweet ending completes the meal, hidden in this quaint little box. To find out what lies inside, stay tuned for Fakebooo’s take!