Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Crimean

Address: 351 Queensberry St, North Melbourne, VIC 3051
Phone: +61 3 9329 3353

So here is the story... I went away from Melbourne for about one month and I thought it would have been a good idea to celebrate my return with a nice eating out with friends... the idea was rambling into my mind during all the week but I did not planned everything until Friday evening where I looked up the web for some new restaurants and I found The Crimean. I was looking for something different from Asian cuisine, which is the one we end up eating in most of the cases... and I found this new place serving east European food (Polish, Russian, Hungarian, and so on). East European? ... that looks really nice! Let's have a look at the location and the website if any.... after a quick look at his score in the usual websites I decided to go for it and organized a dinner for Saturday night.

I quickly got about 10 people and called the restaurant for a seating at 7 pm. Unfortunately the place was busy for that time so we managed with the staff to get a seating at 6-6:15 pm to be freed by 8 pm; 1 hour and 45 minutes seemed a lot for me to have a dinner but in the end we did consume all the time there. We arrived a little bit late but as soon as I entered the restaurant I was quite happy with the environment: dim lights, comfortable environment with a nice music in the background that did not grab much attention but was just enough to give a special touch. One thing that attracted me was the use of lights: the place was not really bright and lamps were covered with a special curtain wrapping that was reducing the light emitted by the bulbs. The tables and chairs were nice and simple and the whole atmosphere was bringing you back to some remote East Europe place...

We ordered entrees to share and main course... unfortunately we were tight in time and did not went for the desserts, which seemed to be quite inviting. As entrees we ordered:

- Salmon with a nice dressing...
- Banitsa: Bulgarian feta & zucchini baked filo pie, salad, and caper chutney.
- Baked meatballs Georgian style.
- Poor man's caviar, rye.
- Fried dumplings, sour cream, and dill (pork and veggie options).

In order to better appreciate the food a small cup of borsch was served together with the entrees and bread, butter and black salt completed the serving. I have to say that all the entrees were nice and well prepared in terms of presentation. I loved the caper chutney that was really fresh and made me taste capers in way I never tried before. The dumplings were nice not oily or overcooked and quite different from the asian dumplings. The meatballs tasted really good and were accompanied with a light sour cream that gave a completely different flavor to the meatballs. On average the entrees were good and all the people at the table enjoyed them.

We then moved to the main course and we decided to have a bottle of good red wine (Symphonia) has helped to taste the food. I asked for the "Bigos", which is a casserole type dish (Polish) with a mix of meats (sausages, pork, beef) and sauerkraut in a very nice sauce. Others ordered the duck leg, which was nice and tasty, The beef short ribs with orange, beer, and Brussels sprouts completed the main courses. Except for the duck leg, which was very well presented but perhaps not enough for a main course, the portions were of a reasonable size, The taste was really nice and everyone enjoyed the evening. Crimean potatoes have been served to accompany the main: two cups of potato mash with a crispy surface that made the mash something very nice and different.

The time flew and at about 8 pm we asked for the bill and left.. we spent about 400 dollars in total, which was around 40 bucks per head. Reasonable price for a entree + main + drink but perhaps, considered the portion of the food, a little bit overpriced. I will probably go back there again but not for a gathering with many friends... most likely for a romantic evening or a dinner for up to 4 people.

Note: I usually dress up my posts with pictures of the food but given the dim light and my crappy phone I did not shot any picture that would have made this story better..... next time!

1 comment:

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