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Church St Enoteca

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by H. Clare Callow (subscribe)
A die-hard Melburnian who keeps being drawn away by luscious food and drinks. Be a pal and click the 'like' link below if you enjoy my article.
Published October 5th 2014
Want a bargain lunch that feels like fine dining? Enoteca
The much-discussed meatballs.
The much-discussed meatballs.
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The specials menu has a few things to offer. But there was no choice for me - it had to be the meatballs.

I was surprised by Enoteca. My dining companion had been going on for months about these amazing meatballs which turned out differently every time he had them. I was envisioning one of the slightly American meatball bars that have been cropping up around the city for the last few years. What I wasn't expecting was a hushed hall and fine linen.

Our waiter meets us at the door and shakes his head as we veer toward the bar. No bar for us. It's the full experience, on a nice table in the front where we can enjoy the sunlight filtering in from outside.

He's all attentiveness and for a moment I worry that we've strayed into a pricey social gaffe, that he's expecting us to order from the full menu. But no: he places before us the bar menu, which is plentiful with interesting dishes but low on price. The lunch special is $17.50 and includes a glass of wine.

The meatballs are our inevitable order.

First, though, some bread: a garlic pane di casa served with olive oil. I have a weakness for good olive oil and this oil was smooth and slightly spicy. I had to remind myself to share.

The wine isn't too far along and it's surprisingly good. I wasn't expecting good wine for a lunch special, but this cleanskin is a full-bodied red. It's the sort of wine of which I'm tempted to order another glass.

 

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Good olive oil.

Next came the meatballs, still bubbling under cheese in a little ramekin. They come with a salad of herbs, rocket and red onion, and I notice that this chef is someone who knows that less is more when it comes to onion in salads. The dressing is a fruity vinegar.

The meatballs are, apparently, different. 'See? Different every time!' my companion crows, as though it's some kind of miracle. I'm fairly certain that the element of surprise adds a certain zest because although the meatballs are tasty, they don't live up to expectations. The sauce is a light napoli and the cheese is lightly flavoured too.

We finish up with a coffee as the attentive waiter scrapes our table of crumbs.

'You have my permission to invite me here more often,' I inform my companion. He gives me a glowing smile. I look forward to another round of meatball surprise.

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Why? A luxurious lunch at a non-luxury price
When: 12-3pm/6-10pm Mon-Fri; 6-10pm Sat
Phone: 03 9428 7898
Where: 527 Church St, Richmond, Vic 3121
Cost: $17.50
Your Comment
Sounds like a great place even if the meatballs weren't fabulous when you dined. Just wondering if it's available for dinner on Saturdays? Times you list includes 6-10pm on Saturday. Robyn
by rknot (score: 0|2) 1830 days ago
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