After an Italian Wine tasting held at Wine @ Era, we proceeded straight to the Bistro for dinner. The restaurant was busy and we were free to choose wherever we liked to sit (outdoors) amongst tables without the reservation tag.
Immediately, we were brought menus and water but we realised that we were given only the beverage list and tapas menu. We thought the waitress could have misunderstood us to start and assumed we were here for tapas, so we asked for the formal dinner menu and whether we could then sit indoors, away from the cold and noise. Unfortunately, the dinner menu can be arranged for us outdoors only as there was a private function soon to start. Anyhow, Era's wine list is extensive and we had the Cave de Beblenhei Gewurtztraminer from Alsace and the Domaine Chandon Sauvignon blanc from Yarra Valley. The Alsace Gewurtz was a little too sweet for Miss food hunter unlike Australian Gewurtzs.
Both Mr and Miss food hunter shared a dozen of Oysters for entree. Half of which were Natural with Cider & Seaweed Vinegar and the other half with Lemon & Tequila Granita. The Oysters were fresh no doubt but they were not your plump creamy type ones. Our favourite combi was with the tequila granita- it just added sweetness to the oysters.!
Miss food hunter had the Crispy Skin Barramundi, Piedmontese Pepper, Couscous, Cavalo Nero with Saffron Veloute. The Barramundi was well-cooked & moist, the Piedmontese Pepper was sweet with that subtle char-flavour, the couscous was fluffy and the saffron veloute was indeed velvety and buttery. Aren't the colours on the plate just delightful?
Mr food hunter was torn between the Roasted Duck Breast & Confit Leg and the Venison Loin. He settled for the latter as the combination intrigued him; Rare Venision Loin, Prosciutto, Spaghetti Carbonara, Pork Belly, fried Quail Egg & Jus. How could and how would all these components fit on and complement the plate? Well, the results were actually pretty impressive....The loin was cooked perfectly rare, the pork belly was tenderly moist with a good crackle and atop lay a crisp cheese crust. The spaghetti though was a touch overcooked. The flavours of the carbonara sauce and the jus alone were great but altogether, they were just too rich for Mr food hunter.
The desserts were tempting but we surrendered and ended with a Cappuccino and Chamomile tea. The cappuccino was unfortunately poorly made with that burnt bitter taste and airy foam that just collapsed. The complimentary fudge with nuts was pretty sugary sweet and made for our dessert ha!
Though we sat outdoors on pretty much the far end, we were never forgotten. Service was not only friendly but also attentive. The whole team of waitstaff worked very well together making sure that the restaurant which ran at almost full capacity, were well looked after.
102 Melbourne street cnr of Merivale street
Opens daily Lunch 1130am to 230pm
6 days Dinner 530 to 10pm (mondays to thursdays)
530 to 1030pm (fridays & saturdays)