Tag Archives: Italian food

European-influenced dining for the night owls

I am fast burning bridges to my former life as a pseudo-anorexic. The good thing about this is I eat out and enjoy eating out immensely. The bad thing about this is there seems to be so many wonderful culinary stalwarts around Melbourne that I’ve never dined at before. The European Restaurant on Spring Street in the CBD was till recently one such place.


Dinner was at the rather late hour of 9pm. After a quiet, leisurely stroll through the Treasury Gardens and making friends with some possums there, I arrived to find I was first, and on time. A glass of manzanilla while I wait! Eventually a semi-apologetic T turns up having been wooed by the beer choice at Biero Bar over the other side of the CBD. Hello glass of amontillado! I am always reminded of Poe’s short story whenever I see the name ‘Amontillado’.


We were still waiting on our chum Nat but she was running late. My tummy couldn’t wait much longer, so I ordered. I was in the mood for lots of small dishes, rather than one large main.

First up, sage and anchovy fritters. Beautiful, feathery-light batter coupled with the saltiness of anchovies. The accompanying sauce was zesty.


Next up, some jamon Serrano with a generous amount of sourdough. If beer and cheese won’t be the death of me, then cured meats definitely will! I hadn’t had any cured meat for a while so this actually felt like a massive treat.


But no, wait! I haven’t finished clogging my arteries with fatty, meaty goodness. Thus the duck terrine with house condiments and grilled baguette came to the rescue! T wasn’t too impressed with the stingy serving of the terrine. Haters gonna hate, as all you hip kids say. I loved the small side salad, it was so tart and set off the gamey flavour of the duck well.


That was good! Yea, Nat arrived! She chose the Tom Cooper smoked salmon celeriac remoulade and horseradish cream.



She twisted my arm and we both finished off with vanilla bean-flecked crème brûlée. Personally, I prefer mine with a thicker crust of burnt sugar. This one was politely singed.


Still, quite a blissful late night meal. The main menu is available till 10pm and after that they change to a reduced supper menu which still has lots of substantial items to constitute a damned fine meal. Given my insomniac tendencies, I know I’ll be back.

The European on Urbanspoon

no-fuss Italian fare

I don’t get to hang out with Mike often enough, so when he asked if anyone was interested in a casual dinner after he finished teaching in the city, I jumped at the chance even though I was nowhere near the city that day. Nope, wasn’t even trying to con a guest post out of him, just wanted to hang.

Sometimes, you just want to go out for dinner somewhere where you can be yourself and not care about how scruffy you look. For this reason, I suggested we head out to The Waiters’ Club in Meyers Place in the city. As you enter Meyers Place, look up! You might just see a Space Invader mosaic creation.

more decor

Once you enter The Waiters’ Club, it should be obvious by the 80s diner aesthetic still in place. Seriously, there is nothing fancy-looking about this joint. As soon as you enter, you’re sure to be enthusiastically greeted by wait staff. The menu is on boards around the restaurant, so just take a look (or a squint in my myopic case) and don’t forget the specials board at the front of the restaurant.

Mike and I were waiting for Tris whose work had him running late and so both of us ordered. Mike initially chose the calamari but they’d run out so he settled for the veal schnitzel. It was pretty freaking huge. I think they could have done to give more vegetables and it’s pretty amusing that they don’t even bother to cut up the potato, haha.

veal schnitzel

The special I wanted was still available – the porcini mushroom risotto. Good-sized serving with plenty of mushrooms (I suspect there wasn’t a great deal of porcini in there…or at least if so then they tasted an awful lot like regular mushrooms). It’s not the best risotto I’ve ever had, but it was just what I was in the mood for. I generally prefer my rice with a hint more ‘bite’. Still, it’s better than my mum’s…(thank god she doesn’t read this blog) One thing I will say is that The Waiters’ Club’s risotto kicks arse over Pellegrini’s any day.

porcini mushroom risotto - special

Ah and yes – if you want wine, then be prepared to have it served to you in latte tumblers. That’s the way this place rolls, yo. It doesn’t faze me personally and I had a glass of the house red while Mike got some Pepsi (not Coke, chuckle).

Tris eventually arrived and we cajoled him into ordering something even though he was shy to eat when we’d finished our meals. Silly thing, he didn’t realise we needed an excuse for dessert! Oh okay, not really. Mike chose the chocolate mousse.

chocolate mousse

I had the tartufo – ever since I was a kid, I was fascinated by the Italian desserts they had on offer at local pizza joints so whenever I see them available, I try to get them. They looked so appealing on the poster, do you know the ones I mean? And this one had a glacé cherry in it, woo!


Yea! Tris’ spaghetti marinara came out as we started tucking into our desserts. It was bloody generous with the amount of seafood it had in it. I may have stolen a few mussels when he wasn’t looking…

spaghetti marinara

It’d been quite a few years since I’d visited up till this recent visit. The prices are a little dearer than I remember but it’s a good ol’ faithful. So next time you’re bemoaning not being able to get a seat at nearby Pellegrini’s (which is pretty much just opposite the road), come here for dinner – the food is better anyway. Waiters’ Club, I retain my fondness for you, especially after seeing this sticker:

Indians are our friends :)

The Waiters Club / Restaurant on Urbanspoon

gourmet pizza goodness

After numerous times trying to hit up Supermaxi with fellow food blogger wankster Alex from The MSG, we finally made it. We kept postponing due to forgetting, insomnia, brokearsedness, work – you name it, it happened. In case you’re not aware, The MSG is having a pizza battle and seeing as Supermaxi is sort of out my way, I asked Alex if I could tag along when he was planning to eat there.

Supermaxi interior

You can’t tell from the outside at all what lurks inside North Fitzroy relative newbie Supermaxi – its exterior is modest to say the least, verging on hidden, even. It is easy to get to as it’s located along the 112 tram route that heads to West Preston. Inside, it’s sleek, sterile and spacious (how’s that for alliteration!).

When I arrived, there were some complementary lupini beans for nibbling. Tasty but trickier buggers than edamame. Of course Alex ate them with more grace than I did and I believe they are enjoyed in Arab countries too.

To drink, I chose a beer from a local (Melbourne) brewery – the Hawthorn amber ale. Malty and very sessionable. Sorry the photo is so…flashy. I have since found out that the Hawthorn brewing premises are located in Mildura, near the NSW-Vic state border. Not so local after all…?

Hawthorn amber ale

Alex tried a Kooinda pale ale, also a (physically) Melbourne-based brewery. I think he probably would have enjoyed the amber ale more as the Kooinda can be bitter for those who don’t generally drink beer.

Time for pizza choices. I went with the special offered on the evening which had smoked mozzarella, basil and prosciutto on a tomato base. Cheese, cured meat and a beer. My holy trinity of vices. You could actually taste that the cheese was smoked but the meat detracted from that a little. A nice thin base but a little soggy towards the middle. I think I might have liked a little more basil and less prosciutto so that the smoked cheese flavour would linger more. Don’t get me wrong – it was delicious and I finished it.


Alex chose the Sicilian – a distinctly different pizza from mine – which had tuna, onion, capers, basil, parsley, mozzarella, lemon and chilli and is not tomato-based. I’m pretty opposed to fish on a pizza but I have to concur with Alex – he got the superior pizza. Really bloody good. Wouldn’t mind a tad more chilli on it. Definitely give this pizza a go even if it sounds a bit odd. I’m very glad I got to try it as it’s not something I would have chosen.

The Sicilian - (bianca) tuna, onion, capers, basil, parsley, mozzarella, lemon, chilli

Alex was fancying dessert and even took pity on my Dickensian status to make sure I got some too which was very kind. I selected the chocolate pannacotta with raspberry sauce. I would have preferred the pannacotta to be a tad creamier, but it was otherwise quite good and chocolate always goes well with tart fruit sauces.

chocolate pannacotta with raspberry sauce

Alex went for the fried custard with honey and vanilla ice cream – the texture of the fried custard was trippy! It was like baked cheesecake with a crunchy crust.

fried custard with honey served with vanilla ice cream

Definitely a solid gourmet pizza experience to be had here but there are certain…idiosyncrasies in the service. Initially when one of us waved over a waitress, she told us that she could not take our order because we were not sitting in her section. Um, what? Oooookay. If you want to stick to that ‘rule’ and make your establishment look difficult, then fine: just remember that not all diners are going to be so forgiving. Our main waitress who was allocated to service our area did an excellent job and chatted a little about the local beers on offer, making a point of mentioning that Kooinda was a Melbourne-based brewery. Is beer’s profile as a drink to have alongside dining rising? One can hope…

If you want to see how Alex has got on with the MSG’s epic pizza battle (seriously, these food blogger wanksters have it hard! They eat and eat and eat and eat just so they can tell you where all the cool places are! *wink*) here’s the link to heat one.

Supermaxi on Urbanspoon