The Press Club is a two hat modern Greek restaurant owned by chef George Calombaris. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll remember George from the hugely popular TV series, Masterchef Australia on Channel 10.
There are many reasons why we ended up visiting The Press Club during our short visit to Melbourne. Firstly, we are both huge fans of Masterchef Australia and love what George brings to the show. Secondly, we just happened to run into my favourite contestant and runner up of Season 2, Callum Hann, right outside the restaurant. And lastly, the hotel we had booked for our visit to Melbourne happened to be located just next door to The Press Club.
I guess the planets must have aligned perfectly for this occasion :) And what an occasion it was, as The Press Club did not disappoint in any way! Once inside we noticed that the restaurant’s decor was a mix of dark browns, black and warm ambient lighting. Add to that the chatter and buzz generated by a full house of happy patrons and the overall feeling was of excitement and intimacy at the same time.
After ordering some wine and receiving the complimentary olive oil with bread rolls, we perused the menu in search of the perfect dishes. Since we knew it would be a while before we came back to Melbourne (and The Press Club), we decided to make the most of this visit and try out the restaurants degustation menu, Symposium Degustation (Symbosio) which is $135 for 8 courses.
Before you receive the first course, The Press Club offers you an interesting snack to cleanse your palate. Tzatziki Meringues frozen in Liquid Nitrogen. That’s right, Liquid ‘Oh My God!’ Nitrogen (think final scene of Terminator 2). It’s brought out in a large steel bowl with vapour pouring over the edges as the service staff carefully lift out the meringues and place it onto your plate. I have to admit I was very nervous eating this, however, it went down easily and left my mouth feeling very refreshed.
Onto the Symposium Degustation, putting it bluntly, this was 8 courses of pure culinary heaven! Normally with 8 dishes coming your way, you are bound to get some that you don’t like, however, I found it very hard to fault any of the dishes. All of the dishes were delicious, with some being extraordinarily so! Such as the lamb cooked three ways, which is perhaps the best lamb I’ve ever had. Even the salads were beautiful, and the deserts of course were mouth watering.
Apart from the quality of the food, there are certain other little things that separate a good restaurant from a great restaurant. Service is one of them. The staff at The Press Club were very friendly and switched on, not hesitating for a second to help a lending hand with any requests or advice on food or wine. We also received a complimentary gift pack of Olive Oils on our departure, which we thought was a very nice touch.
Although George Calombaris is usually the one judging on Masterchef, if The Press Club was a contestant on the show, it would be me leaning forward on my toes giving it a big thumbs up! Well done, George :)
Images sourced from The Press Club.