The empire continues to strike back and prosper, and no, this isn’t a star wars or star trek story. Con Christopoulos and Josh Brisbane have built an impressive collection of fine eating houses and other related gourmet venues based in the city, particularly concentrating in Spring St.
One tip, you simply must check out their cheese store in the basement at 157 Spring Street, just the best in the country.
In recent times they have opened an outpost right in the middle of the CBD, on the corner of Little Bourke Street and Hardware Lane to be precise. A new partner has been included in this venture and he is the erstwhile television but perennial celebrity chef, Ian Curley. Mr Curley has been the executive chef at the European, Spring Street for eons and has been looking to get his teeth into a venue of his own in between the numerous rounds of golf he manages to fit into his busy schedule, many of these golf matches are played in a fierce competitive spirit with Mr Christopoulos but that is another story.
Stage one of this new project was Kirks Wine Bar on the ground floor that has been open for a year and a bit. Phase 2 is the French Saloon which opened earlier this year. The Saloon is a bright airy room directly above the wine bar. A feature is its own bar, a big chunk of Zinc, that defines the working space from the area where the customers can have some fun.
We started with some freshly shucked oysters and a great little dish of blood sausage paired with beetroot and apple and some cured kingfish with carrots and a piquant dressing. All were superb with no one flavour swamping the dish, yet flavours were abundant. When we ate there Mr Curley was in the house and on shucking duties so we were blessed. He maintains the executive chef role whilst the head chef is Todd Moses, formerly of that wonderful other CBD newcomer, Supernormal.
Main courses featured dry aged steaks which were cooked precisely to order. Plenty of other big plate options are on hand including roast duck and whole fish. The cheese selection was too good to bypass and we were able to wash down the cheese with another bottle of fine wine. The floor staff were very friendly and efficient which added to the atmosphere and the general enjoyment of the dining experience. By the way this is not fine dining, you are meant to come here for a bit of fun, either a short time or a long time but when you are here you will eat and drink very well indeed.
Rest assured with these gents at the helm wine is always looked after and here Russell Keightley is responsible for all thing vinous, both upstairs and downstairs. There are plenty of good choices at various price points so you can either drink something special or knock back an extra bottle without breaking the bank.
Welcome newcomer, I have a feeling you might be here to stay.