Picture, if you will, yourself seated in a dining room that portrays 19th century grandeur but still manages to be relaxed and comfortable. A knowledgable and charming waiter hands you a menu boasting seasonal, produce driven dishes that take their inspiration from the Mediterranean, but borrow techniques and styles from the many other cultures found in our wonderful city. As you peruse the offerings, you are asked if you would like to have something from the Champagne Trolley.
Where are you? Syracuse Restaurant and Wine Bar. Located on beautiful Bank Place, one of Melbourne’s more picturesque laneways, Syracuse is perhaps a forgotten destination in a city that boasts no end of dining options. After a recent visit, I think it’s time to remember it.
Open for breakfast lunch and dinner during the week, it positions itself well as a destination for CBD workers and visitors alike. The menu changes for each meal, and in the evening lends itself to sharing. It also reflects a strong commitment to Victorian sourced produce with little tweaks to the menu made depending on what the season has to offer and the daily delivery has brought.
Expect some unusual combinations of flavours and ingredients: the Smoked duck breast with fennel and vanilla, strawberries, foie gras was a surprise. I anticipated sweetness, but got a perfectly balanced dish. The Crumbed pigs tail, quails egg, breakfast radish, sauce ravigote, crispy ear made my dining companion a happy convert to nose to tail eating. My favourite dish was perhaps the Yellow fin tuna, smoked caviar, baby artichokes, barley, toasted rice. Quality produce treated simply and with respect.
The Syracuse wine list boasts over 500 wines. If such an extensive offering seems confronting, you will be in good hands if you allow the sommelier to direct you. The sommelier also handpicks the daily champagne selections. Up to four will trundle their way to you on the Trolley and will feature both the well known houses and some very interesting boutique labels.
I must also make special mention of the service. There are many well known venues in Melbourne that would do well to come here and see how its done. For me it can really make or break a dining experience, and the staff at Syracuse showed me that they know how to make it.
Whether it is for a client meeting, an after work get together with colleagues, or simply an excuse to dine well in an elegant setting, put Syracuse on your list. You won’t be disappointed. On this occasion I dined as a guest of Syracuse but all opinions are my own and are based on my experience. What’s more, I look forward to going back.