72 Flinders Street
Melbourne Vic 3001
The Press Club is definitely the jewel in the crown of George Colombaris’ successful restaurant empire. It’s intimate, luxurious and refined, the kind of place you visit to celebrate a special occasion, impress that someone special or just splurge on a night out. It’s for this reason it’s long been on my dining wish list and this year we finally decided to tick it off that list, but the question is did it live up to our expectations?
The small space on Exhibition Street exudes class and sophistication. The ceiling is artistically lined with different shaped gold cylinders creating a sense of warmth and opulence. No more than 12 leather lined booths fill the space restricting the number of diners to a small exclusive group. This in turn ensures that the A Grade service is attentive, detailed and friendly yet still giving diners the space to privately enjoy their meal.
Wanting to try a good cross-section of dishes it was suggested we order the tasting menu. The thoughtfully curated five course menu includes a good mix of proteins and exhibits the best on offer to diners.
They kicked things off with their divine Taramosalata accompanied by a handful of salt and vinegar Loukoumades, as well as a serve of the Tsoureki herb bread. Yes, you read right, salt and vinegar Loukoumades. These traditional Greek doughtnuts are usually served with honey or sugar, however this savoury spin on the classic was surprisingly delicious. The bite sized crispy doughnuts had the texture we expect just with a tangy kick to them.
Next up was the Robe Octopus served with Tirokafteri and Yogurt. The tender tentacles were delivered to our table on top of a miniature grill and plated up in front of us as the waiter detailed how it had been cooked. A simple but well executed dish left us wanting more (another piece each would have been nice).
Then came the Milking Yard Chicken served with a delicate chicken broth, which was followed by the rather theatrical Potato ‘Kleftiko’. Our waiter presented us with a mini coal BBQ, within which sat two slow cooked baby potatoes wrapped up foil. We were advised that this was a cooking technique used by poor Greek workers in times gone by and that our potatoes would now return to the kitchen to be dressed. The final product being delivered to our table only minutes layer but I have to admit I was disappointed that this course was literally just one baby potato. It tasted divine and clearly the cooking process took some time, however given the price tag on this meal, we definitely expected more than one little potato each.
We rounded out the savory part of our meal with a flavoursome traditional lamb Moussaka then had a bit of a breather before dessert came our way. Dessert was probably the highlight for both of us. The Wandin East raspberry Risogalo was served with brown sugar, olive oil and sorbet. It was sweet, but light, almost like a pallet cleanser. By far one of the most balanced and well-rounded desserts I’ve ever had. It was the perfect end to quality meal, leaving us satisfied without the excessive richness that comes with most desserts.
All in all we enjoyed our visit. The food in some respects was not dissimilar to George’s other restaurants, but what you come here for is a dining experience offered by only a select few in Melbourne and it’s that experience that makes it all worth it.