Iron Chef Shellie

Eating Out: The Press Club

Last night Nerdy Rob and I went to The Press Club for dinner. This was my birthday present to Rob, but as I couldn’t get in on the day of his birthday, we celebrated it again one week later.

For those of you who don’t know, The Press Club is owned by Masterchef judge, George Calombaris. And since Masterchef is on TV, I’m guessing that’s why it is a little harder to get a booking! It is also most likely because the food is absolutely amazing.

We were taken to probably the best seats in the house, in the corner booth so we could see the whole restaurant, including having a good look at what was going on in the kitchen.
We found an envelope on our table, with a special card inside:

What a lovely way to start the evening! Rob was impressed, and I was even more impressed! I’m glad I mentioned it was for his birthday when making the booking. The couple next to us also had an envelope as they were celebrating their anniversary.

Our main waitress was lovely. She looked after us very well, and was never too far away if we needed her. All the other wait staff were also very nice, and everyone’s knowledge of the entire menu and wine selection was just mind boggling! How they remember it all beats me.

We started with 3 types of bread. A sun-dried tomato bread, a pistachio and honey bread (my favorite) and a white crusty style bread. To accompany this we had olive oil from Greece, and black volcanic salt. We had never had volcanic salt before, but it was a really nice accompaniment with the bread.

We dined from the sharing set menu called Kerasma. There are 2 options, 4 courses or 5 courses. The only difference is the 5th course is a dessert. And well, I love my dessert so we went for the full 5 courses. They cater for all dietary requirements upon request, and the menu is seasonal.

First course: Mezedes – Tastes
“Press Club” Saganaki Martini & Seafood Kalamaki

The waiter explained to start with what was in the glass and nibble the cheese whilst drinking the tomato gin tea. The tomato gin tea was very refreshing and light and the cheese added a nice savory flavour, and something to nibble on.

The seafood kalamaki was pickled octopus and anchovies. The anchovy was extremely fishy on is own, but eaten with the octopus the flavours just melted into each other.

Second Course: Orektika – Appetisers
Crayfish cigar with Fisherman’s Soup, Chorizo & Ham Terrine with a poached soft centred apple egg served with a cucumber and feta salad, white bait salad (instead of oysters)

These were served on our slate of granite, and all totally mind blowing!
The crayfish cigar was so fresh and the fisherman’s soup had a lovely flavour to it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but it almost had a dry flavour as well. Unfortunately I found a hair in this one and sent it back. They brought me out a new one very promptly and 2 complimentary glasses of amazing wine. They were very apologetic about it and well, lets face it, these things do happen! Still this didn’t effect our evening or dampen our view of the restaurant.

The chorizo and ham terrine was our favorite. The chorizo skin held the ham terrine to give it a gorgeous smokey flavour, and the apple egg is just an explosion of amazing flavour. I was hoping we would get an apple egg because looking at the recipe in The Press Club cookbook had me rather confused! The feta and cucumber salad was so delicate and delicious.

The white bait salad was explained as a refreshing, palate cleanser, and that is exactly what it was. Fried white bait with lots of micro herbs, very nice indeed.

Our selection of matching wines to go with the 3 dishes. The waiter didn’t say “This is a Chardonnay.. etc”, he explained where they were from, the climate, soil and other growing conditions, and explained some flavours within them and weather they were a bit dry, a bit sweet, or whatever. I loved the little cradle in which the glasses sat. We got 3 red wines too, to match the next few dishes, the most interesting had notes of lavender!

Third Course: Thalassina – from the Sea
Pan seared salmon fillets with braised eggplant salad and saffron cream, mushroom salad with blueberry jelly and almond praline.

The fish was absolutely delicious. Cooked to perfection, seasoned exceptionally well, I couldn’t fault it at all! The braised eggplant salad was served in a jar, and we were told not to mix through the saffron cream but to just have it on the side and let the flavours do the rest. Well the flavours did do the rest and it was a lovely combination.
The mushroom salad had a lovely vinaigrette, the blueberry jelly was delicious with the mushrooms, and the small flecks of almond praline really made this dish a little bit more special.

Forth Course: Ghi – from the Land
Lamb, hot off the Press Club rotisserie, Greek salad ‘horiatiki’,
Steamed kipfler potatoes, lemon and oregano

OH MY GOODNESS!! You have not had lamb until you have had this lamb! Braised lamb neck with a beans and sultanas, the lamb just melts away. The sauce was rich, a bit sweet and full of flavour, which accentuated the lamb.

The kipfler potatoes with lemon and oregano were the perfect match for the sweetness of the lamb. With the Greek salad helping to refresh the taste buds from the richness of the lamb and potatoes.

Fifth Course: Epidorpio – dessert
Chocolate Tart with Pistachio Ice Cream
&
Loukoumades (Traditional Greek Donuts)

Just when we thought we were overfull and couldn’t eat a single bite more, dessert arrives. And well excuse me but how can I resist a chocolate tart as good looking as that? I was in gourmet food heaven! The little chocolate/caramel wafer was sweet and bitter and the pistachio ice cream an absolute treat. This was a real winner.

Finally the loukoumades were just like nothing you can imagine. It is just basically dough balls covered in a honey like syrup with crushed nuts, but that sounds too simple. The taste these delivered was just like nothing else. So incredibly fresh, eating these should be a crime! Well I’m sure they are for most people on a diet!

We finished off with our dessert wines . The white one was my favorite with notes of passionfruit, and lychees. The red one smelt really dry but was actually really sweet and had a maple syrup essence to it.

For Rob and I, The Press Club is an absolute winner all round.
Exceptional service, a fantastic atmosphere and well the food just speaks for itself. I couldn’t fault it, even with finding a hair in one my dishes. I can’t wait to go back again, maybe next time I wont be footing the bill!

Press Club on Urbanspoon

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Comments
9 Responses to “Eating Out: The Press Club”
  1. Robert says:

    The photos barely do the meals justice. The flavors were all just so perfectly balanced that you really couldnt fault a single thing.

  2. Esz says:

    That all looks so fabulous! Yum!

  3. FFichiban says:

    Sounds like an amazing meal :) All sounds delicious but the lamb esp.! *drool*
    Too bad about the hair (and George not being there) but they did recover well :)

  4. Iron Chef Shellie says:

    Hi Rob!
    I totally agree!
    x

    Hi Esz!
    Ohhh it was all fabulous!
    x

    Hi Ffichiban!
    Yeah the hair was a minor let down, but another thing to remember. The lamb… omg I wish i took some tupperware to bring the leftovers home! haha
    x

  5. Rilsta says:

    Wow, that sounds amazing! I will have to go and try it for myself!

    That's fantastic how they responded to the hair in the food. I found a hair in my food at a Chinese restaurant recently and all they did was take it away and bring a new one. No apology, nothing!

  6. Forager says:

    Ooh, it looks so good. Shame about the hair – but like my Sepia experience, even top class chefs are human and make mistakes. Still definitely on my to eat at list. How much were the 4 course and 5 course degustation?

  7. Iron Chef Shellie says:

    Hi Forager,
    The price went up from when I booked it which I was a little disappointed about. By $10!
    4 courses = $74
    5 courses = $84

    + matching wines $55

    xx

  8. Briony says:

    One of the best restaurant reviews I've ever read (and not just because it was a good review)!

  9. Jen says:

    The hand written card is a very nice touch. They seem so well-priced too! I need another trip to Melbourne :-P

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