Thursday, May 17, 2012

Saint Peter's


Saint Peter's Bar & Restaurant
6 Melbourne Place
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Ph (03) 9663-9882

On a Friday night a few weeks ago, we caught up with my good family friend Richard for dinner at Saint Peter's. I was running a bit late, and being flustered from the incredibly crowded Friday-night-trams, I didn't take much notice of the location or the setting when I arrived. It took me a good couple of hours to realise that they'd taken over the space previously occupied by the Canary Club. Oh, when did that happen? Almost two years ago? Whoops.


First on the agenda was a lovely refreshing aperitivo - blood orange bellini.  Salute!  Here's to the weekend.
Blood orange bellini
We shared three entrees between the five of us: bresaola, bruschetta, and some prawn-stuffed calamari.  From the menu description, I thought these would all be small and snacky, but they were actually all quite substantial dishes.
Calamari ripieni di gamberi - Baby calamari filled with Queensland banana prawns, dusted in flour & rosemary salt, shallow fried & served with roasted peppers - $16
Calamari stuffed with prawns! What a cute idea! I was impressed with the freshness of the seafood in this dish, and thought it worked well with the sweet-sour roast capsicums.

Bresaola with fresh figs, rocket, parmesan and grissini - $14
I'm not generally that keen on bresaola, preferring porky cured meats to the beefy bresaola, but I did enjoy the combination of sweet fresh figs and salty cured meat.

Bruschetta di pomodoro - Char-grilled housemade sourdough bread with vine ripened tomatoes, mum’s fresh basil & locally produced mozzarella ‘burrata’ - $12
The bruschetta was the stand-out for me, with its crispy bread, juicy tomatoes, and bonus layer of creamy burrata!

And here are the mains!  We were told that the meals here are based on local, seasonal, sustainable ingredients, but I must admit, we were most struck by the incredibly generous portions!
Clockwise from top left:
Cotolette Milanese - Milk fed veal cutlet, crumbed in fresh bread crumbs, parmesan cheese & lemon rind - $29
Tagliatelle con cicale di mare - Tagliatelle tossed with Balmain bugs, chilli & garlic, in a white wine sauce - $34
Braised duck leg with polenta and silverbeet - $29
Minestrone di casa - Maria’s famous minestrone, seasonal local veg, cooked in a vegetable stock & served with a spoon of basil pesto - $21
Chicken alla cacciatora

I loved the gutsy presentation of the cotolette Milanese: one plate, one massive crumbed veal chop, and half a lemon.  Simple, and fantastic.  My pasta was delicious too - the tumble of tagliatelle, which had been hand made "about three hours ago", had soaked up all that gorgeous, briny seafood taste from the sauce, and was studded with big chunks of super-fresh Balmain bugs.  It was a really big serving though, and I could only manage about half the plate - luckily my Dad swooped in and finished up the rest, despite having eaten that ginormous chicken alla cacciatora!  Woah!  Good work Dad!  The minestrone was well made, and very substantial, although you'd probably get better value for money ordering one of the other mains.

Insalata di arance e finocchio - Fennel, orange & mixed leaf salad - $9
Patate fritte - Triple cooked house cut chunky potatoes with rosemary & garlic - $9
Our sides were a refreshing fennel and citrus salad, as well as some fabulous crispy fried potatoes. (The potatoes weren't strictly necessary, but I've recently come to realise that I can't go to a restaurant and not order fried potatoes!)

As with the entrees, we shared three desserts between us.

Panna Cotta - $15

Torta di arance - Sicilian almond & orange cake served with housemade vanilla bean ice cream - $14
Both desserts were good, but paled in comparison to the amazing tiramisu.  They have giant bowls of tiramisu,  which are brought to the table and individually portioned, which enhanced the whole rustic, homestyle vibe.  Great presentation idea!

House made tiramisu - $15
The tiramisu was so good, with a great balance of coffee and alcohol.  Just quietly, I would have been happy skipping the other desserts and just inhaling a massive bowl of that tiramisu!

I think the meals at St Peters are very well priced, especially considering the portion size and the quality of the meals.  (Full disclosure: our friend Richard shouted us dinner and he happens to be friends with floor manager Sebastian, so it is possible he got a discount. However, I still think the prices are great, irrespective of any discount he may have been given!)  Despite being very busy, all our meals and drinks were brought out promptly, and as far as I could see, walk-ins were welcomed in a reasonable time frame. (This is a pet peeve of mine, so I always take notice of this when I go out).

From what I can gather from discussions with friends and reading other blogs, St Peters seems to have changed quite a bit since it first opened, and for the better.  The tablecloths and small portions of cheffy food (apparently of variable quality) are gone - now the food is rustic, simple, and served in very generous portions, for more of a casual trattoria feel.  (See posts from 2011 from Melbourne Culinary Journal, I Eat Therefore I Am, and I'm So Hungree for a comparison).  We had a great night, and I'd happily come back again.

Saint Peter's Trattoria on Urbanspoon

5 comments:

Agnes said...

Calamari stuffed with prawns has got to be the best idea I've seen today. (Yesterday's was the spork chops. You're doing pretty well this week!) ;)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Nothing better to settle the flustered nerves than a good meal!

Sarah said...

Agnes - Thanks! I'm on fire with the great ideas, it seems! :)

Lorraine - I must admit I think the cocktail calmed me down even more than the meal!

xox Sarah

Hannah said...

I had bresaola for the first time last weekend, and it kinda tasted just like the roast beef deli meat mum used to put in my primary school sandwiches... I'll take the figs though ;)

Winston said...

Cool! I've walked past this a number of times but never really thought of going in and try. Will def suggest this place next time my friends and I want to have dinner together in the city. Seems less crowded compared to other CBD restaurants too. And yea, the prawn stuffed calamari and tiramisu sounds like it'll be an absolute hit. Thanks for this!