The European

161 Spring St
Melbourne, VIC 3000

The European is an absolute Melbourne classic. I love the luxe old-world interior, which is just about the most romantic dining room in all of Melbourne. I love their elegant, loose-limbed take on traditional European cooking, which is carried off with such a breezy insouciance that it feels more like you’ve stumbled on them making dinner in the kitchen and, oh why not, you may as well join them for the meal. And most of all, I love that the atmosphere encourages a deliberate slowing down, to better enjoy the finer things life has to offer; maybe another half dozen oysters to accompany that bottle of red?

Rating: 15/20 – absolute classic.
Must-order: whipped cod roe with blini.

Whipped Cod Roe ($27.5)

The Whipped Cod Roe ($27.5) is a decadent delight, the creamy dip punctuated by the pop of briny caviar. Slather it generously on the accompanying puffy potato blini, or save some to dip your fries into later.

Roast Pumpkin, Stracciatella ($27)

The Roast Pumpkin, Stracciatella ($27) is a great way to get your daily 5 veg. Deliberately not over-caramelised, the gently sweet pumpkin still retains a bit of its toothsome texture, complementing the creaminess of the stracciatella, and highlighting the plump, syrupy grapes.

Spicy Oyster Rockefeller ($6.5ea)

I don’t like oysters, but I had the hankering for something seafood-y and indulgent. So it was the Spicy Oyster Rockefeller ($6.5ea), seethed in herbed butter and topped with breadcrumbs. Yum.

250g Aged Porterhouse ($54)/Green Beans, Preserved Lemon Aioli ($16)

The 250g Aged Porterhouse ($54) was a study in quality and simplicity. The beef was perfectly cooked, with a charred and generously salted exterior, and a beautifully juicy pink centre. The accompanying black pepper sauce was silky with just a hint of brandy sweetness, and the bowl of frites crisp and moreish. I would also highly recommend a plate of Green Beans, Preserved Lemon Aioli ($16) to round out the meal.

Chocolate and Orange Pudding ($17.5)

All the classics are there for dessert, but I was talked into the special of Chocolate and Orange Pudding ($17.5) by my husband. Luckily (for him), this was a deliciously warm and gooey confection, the richness of dark cocoa tempered by citrus, and a drizzle of sticky rum caramel.

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