|Scott Picket and the St Crispin team in the open kitchen|
The restaurant is set in what was originally a cobbler's workshop. It is a very cool space with timber floorboards, high ceilings and tables with no tablecloths, which creates a relaxed, casual dining experience. There is also an open kitchen so diners can watch the chef's prepare their food, something that I am always intrigued by.
The menu at Saint Crispin has a strong focus on seasonal and mainly local produce. For the quality of the ingredients and the cooking at Saint Crispin, the menu is great value. You can either choose 2 courses for $50, 3 courses for $60, or go all-out with the 7-course chef's tasting menu at $120. There are also some snacks and sides on the menu. My wife and I decided to go with 3 courses tonight.
Amuse bouche and bread
Our waitress brought over a couple of snacks while we waited for our first courses to be served. There was a a little chickpea puff that reminded me of a fried tofu puff in appearance and texture. This was served with a little dabble of lime mayo, which just delicious: zingy and zesty. The other snack was a sour hibiscus marshmallow coated in cocoa. The marshmallow was like a little cloud that evaporates in the mouth.
We were also served some sourdough bread, house churned butter, onion cream cheese and olive oil (because the waitress had mistaken my wife as a vegan). The onion cream cheese was just gorgeous and you can really taste the wonderful flavours of caramelised onions. Pity there was not more it as both my wife and I were fighting over it.
There were also some premium courses on the menu tonight for those feeling indulgent, namely us. Our eyes lit up when we saw the words ALBA WHITE TRUFFLE printed on the menu! We knew we could only order one of the truffle entree (as it would set us back an extra $40)! I decided to also get the other premium entree on the menu, King Island Marron for an extra $12.
|WHITE TRUFFLE from ALBA!|
White truffles from Alba (in Northern Italy) are a very prized ingredient and people pay big money to get their hands on these tubers (they can fetch USD 2,000 a pound for the best variety at auctions)! La Pergola (a 3-Michelin star restaurant in Rome) charges 98 euro with Alba white truffle, so $40 is a relative bargain(?) (although La Pergola sources the highest quality truffles).
|Alba white truffle, button mushroom and risoni (extra $40)|
It goes without saying, that this course was just amazing! The combination of truffles and mushrooms in a rich, creamy dish is just to die for. So satisfying, with each bite leaving you want to dig your spoon in for more! The risoni were like soft, slippery pellets that resemble risotto in appearance only. We would have preferred this dish as a risotto but the flavours of this dish still shine through!
|King Island marron, sweet corn, chorizo and tomato (extra $12)|
|Flinders Island lamb, parmesan, artichoke and broad bean|
|Courgette flower, sesame, green tomato and beetroot|
|Sebago potato crisp, seaweed mayonnaise ($9)|
As always, we decided to pick 2 desserts so that we could share. Desserts are usually the toughest choice as everything often looks so enticing. After much indecision, we decided on the following (could have easily picked the apricot, nectarine and peach dessert):
|Chocolate, earl grey, milk and ginger|
|Mango, coconut, vanilla and verbena|
Our meal at Saint Crispin was brilliant and I can't wait to go back there again when I am in Melbourne next. I love the concept here: amazing cooking using fresh seasonal, mostly seasonal ingredients that doesn't break the bank. The ambience of the dining room is relaxed too and the meal won't take hours to finish. Sydney could do with a few places like Saint Crispin. I can't think of too many places in Sydney where you can have a 3-course meal this good for $60.
Highlight: WHITE TRUFFLE from ALBA!
Lowlight: St Crispin is always busy so best to book early. And it can get loud inside, so it can be difficult to hear what your dining partner is saying.
Overall: Modern, great tasting food. Not too expensive, very accessible. Great atmosphere. Friendly staff. Trendy. 8/10 (Excellent)
Contact no: 03 9419 2202