24 Jul Syracuse, Melbourne CBD
Interior images of Mediterranean stalwart, Syracuse, have always piqued my interest. Philippa Sibley has been now in charge of the kitchen for just over a year – an even better reason to make my way there for lunch. Syracuse was originally just a wine bar back in 1996, and there’s still an impressive selection of wines to try (over 600!) as well as expert sommeliers to help guide us through selection. The restaurant is cosier than expected, and exudes a classic warm and moody atmosphere.
Syracuse offers an Express Lunch on weekdays: 2 courses for $39, or 3 for $49. Dishes change up every now and then, but for today we begin our lunch with a Pork and Pistachio Terrine with pear chutney, and a delicious Cauliflower soup. The soup is thick, creamy and velvety smooth. Buttery croutons are like hidden gems suspended on top, and there’s a touch of salt from the blue cheese crumbs, without there being an overwhelmingly pungent blue cheese flavour.
The slightly spicy Penne “Amatricianna” is a simple preparation with bacon, cheese and basil, but there’s also Seared Salmon to try. The fish comes with puy lentils and “curried egg”. Perfectly seasoned, the salmon is also perfectly cooked, and the flavours of the egg, celery, lentils and salmon are well-balanced.
The final course is a choice of either cheese or dessert. Cheese is always a nice indulgence, but Philippa Sibley is the ‘Queen of Desserts’, so of course we had to try the sweet option too. The Orange Creme Caramel comes with a bit of a twist: a vanilla sable base that contrasts nicely with the zesty, smooth and silky creme caramel.
After so many years of pondering a visit, Syracuse didn’t disappoint. The express lunch is good value, and the antique, elegant surrounds make it just that little bit more special.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Syracuse as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
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23 Bank Pl
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9670 1777