20 Aug Circa, St Kilda
I tend to expect very little from hotel restaurants, but Circa is an exception. Located within The Prince hotel in St Kilda, Circa has retained a number of chef hats for many years. The seasonal menu has been put together by head chef Ashly Hicks and Melbourne Pub Group Executive Chef Stephen Burke. Sustainable and organic premium produce is used when possible, prepared with clean flavours so that the ingredients really shine.
The space was modern, bright and airy, with well-spaced tables and a more laid-back vibe than I had expected.
A2 and I decided to share an entree, going for the duck with cinapa, malted onion, coriander flower and nettle sauce. It had a lip-smacking combination of flavours that were vibrant and punchy.
A2’s main of milk-fed Flinders Island lamb came with turnip and salt bush. The addition of olives gave the dish quite a savoury flavour that A2 really enjoyed.
My ike-jime sea bream was beautifully cooked. The icicle radishes were tender, and I loved how the black garlic sauce complemented the fish without detracting from its glory. There was a simple but satisfying amalgamation of flavours on the plate, and it did not disappoint.
Serving sizes are small, though I’ve come to expect that from most fine-dining restaurants. They did live up to their ethos of letting their premium produce being the star of the show and Circa stands out amongst the many restaurants in St Kilda.