I love George Columbaris and The Press Club is an institution in Melbourne so I was extremely excited to try out their tasting menu. We went for the four course menu which still included so many dishes – I wonder if we really missed out by not getting the full menu.
The theme of the menu was Summer and that was clearly evident throughout the meal. We started with an aperitif of Mastiha poured over a large cherry and spice flavoured ice cube. I have never tried Mastiha before but it has a similar taste to ouzo and is traditionally served with mezethes. Cue, the mezethes, our first taste of George’s summer. My favourite meze was the salty, doughy loukoumades sprinkled with vinegar and served with a subtle taramasalata. I now can’t think of a dish that typifies summer more for me. We also had some dried eggplant fingers with sesame seeds, hung delicately on a washing line and a delicious cone of melitzanosalata ice cream. I had to research afterwards but melitzanosalata is a traditional eggplant dip that is actually quite chunky.
Our next course was potato skordalia with garlic and walnuts – it was beautiful. The potato just melted in your mouth and made you want a whole plate of it! Next followed a small piece of white fish (psari in Greek) with a cauliflower puree (I could have eaten a bowl of it) and shitake mushrooms. Following this we had a perfectly cooked piece of beef with horta (dandelion leaf) and taramasalata. At first I thought the combination would be a bit odd however the greens were deep, rich and full of flavour – it was a better version of crispy kale!
With the mains complete and our stomachs quite full, out came a palate cleanser of a lemon yoghurt mousse with lemon curd at the bottom. Not my favourite dish but it did the job. Next up was the main desert of strawberry rice pudding. Unfortunately I really didn’t like this dish – for me it was a quite gloopy, the strawberry layer felt like plastic in your mouth and the overall texture and taste of the dish was lacklustre.
Finally, we had some petit four which included a backgammon set in which the counters and dice were made from chocolate. A perfect place to end and one that left me thinking of the hours after dinner playing backgammon with my dad.
Overall I really enjoyed our experience here – I can’t say the service was fantastic but I loved the trip down memory lane.