Self Preservation

70 Bourke Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
I admit that there’s something exciting about trying a less well-known restaurant. I very rarely visit a restaurant that doesn’t have copious amounts of good reviews backing it up – chalk that up to my very science-oriented education – so when I actually pick a place simply because I like the look of it, it’s a bit of a big deal. Not that Self Preservation is exactly hidden away, but it’s a lot more popular as a brunch pit-stop so as a result, I know that they do great coffee and nice eggs, but close to nothing about their dinner. And that’s almost as good as finding a restaurant for myself, right?
Being on the ‘Paris End’ of Bourke Street, Self Preservation fits the mould as a cosily antiquated European wine bar. Most people are here for a drink; the wine list is twice the size of the menu, though in all fairness the latter is rather compact and succinct. 
Spicy Pork and Beef Meatballs ($15)
Spicy Pork and Beef Meatballs ($15)
It always amazes me how wildly different the humble meatball can taste, from flavourless grizzle to succulent beauties. The Spicy Pork and Beef Meatballs ($15) of Self Preservation were rather good, the rich and spicy tomato sugo cooled with a dollop of yoghurt, and the meatballs pleasingly lean and meaty. The show was stolen though by the crunchy, smoky wood-fire grilled sourdough, with just a smidge of butter melted over it. 
Truffled Cauliflower Risotto with Seared Scallops ($23)
Like the meatballs, the Truffled Cauliflower Risotto with Seared Scallops ($23) was another staple dish done with care and elegance. The chewy grains of rice were interspersed with diced cauliflower that served to lighten the dish up considerably. The sauce was creamy but not cloying, and the chicken stock could be tasted clearly behind the polite amount of cheese and garlic. The scallops were unfortunately a bit overcooked, but still managed to remain smoky and sweet.
French Fries and Our Tomato Sauce ($8.5)
We ordered a serve of French Fries and Our Tomato Sauce($8.5) with no real expectations, with the intention of having them as a filler (that we didn’t end up needing), because the waitress recommended we order 4-5 dishes to share (preposterous!). They fulfilled their purpose, and I’m happy to leave them at that. 
I don’t have meals at cafes very often, as I find the food to be frequently over-priced and lack-lustre. However I actually thoroughly enjoyed having dinner at Self Preservation. Calling the food innovative and exciting would be a stretch of the imagination – it’s no more and no less than simple food done well, but that was enough.
Rating: 13.5/20 – i work close enough to come here for lunch!
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Laur. 22/09/2014 at 3:17 am

    I’ve only been there for a drink at night before, and we were the only people there. Glad to know it’s busier during the day!

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