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World Restaurant & Bar

Home > Melbourne > Dinner | Restaurants
by Jason Fernandes (subscribe)
An independent writer and lover of the cultural aspects of life – food, film, literature, travel, music, art and theatre.
Published July 5th 2014
The dinner, for when you want dinner and a show
Located amongst a cluster of dining options on Riverside Quay, Southbank, World Restaurant & Bar is well placed for those who will move on for a late night out, taking in a later dinner after a show at the Melbourne Arts Centre or will make their time at the restaurant the focus of their evening.

Arriving around 8PM on a Saturday, we found the place almost full and counted ourselves fortunate to get a table since we had made our reservation only a few hours earlier. Perhaps it is one consolation for the continued focus on group dining that sometimes it is easier to get a table for just two. The bar area in front is more modern in decorations and tables with a live band playing, while the restaurant rear area has an interior dimly lit by chandelier, broken up with iron gates and with bookshelf-print wallpaper.

A first glance at the menu – full of pizza, pasta and steak options plus burger, fish and chips dishes and a pie of the day – may lead you to think this place is more casual than it is. We were probably under-dressed compared to most patrons who were there to celebrate a special occasion or launch a big night out, but you wouldn't feel too out of place in jeans. In the mood for pasta we ordered the 'Garlic Prawn Linguini' and the 'Braised Beef Cheek Ragu'.

Linguini, World Restaurant & Bar
Garlic Prawn Linguini

The linguini is very subtle on flavour, there is not really any sauce to speak of. Most of the flavour came from the accompaniments – pruned cherry tomatoes that were sweet and sour like they have been sautéed with vinegar, a generous helping of breadcrumbs that add a lot of crunch to an otherwise soft dish and occasional bursts of heat from slices of chilli. But overall I found the flavour far too subdued and the pasta a tad too soft. The 'garlic' of the dish's name was barely present. The dish improved the more I consumed. At the bottom of my plate was a little bit of, you can't really call it a 'sauce', a buttery accompaniment flavoured with a little dill and garlic. Once you eat your way there and can mix it with your remaining pasta, the dish improves immensely. If this 'sauce' was more plentiful and poured over the top of the pasta it would be a nicer dish. My wife, however, enjoyed the dish more than I did and would have preferred it to her order of the ragu.

Braised Beef Cheek Ragu, World Restaurant & Bar
Braised Beef Cheek Ragu

What's not to like about ragu? If you like pasta, pappardelle will probably be the best made, best cooked, nice and firm, that you will find. The meat will be wonderfully tender and the sauce will be rich, flavourful, maybe even a little spicy. And World have a fair version of it for you to enjoy. The problem for my wife and I is that we have experienced the ragu at Society on Bourke Street which is unforgettable and means every ragu becomes a comparison to that high water mark. The sauce for the ragu at Society tastes as if it has been simmering away for weeks and has slowly infused a myriad of subtle flavours producing something equally complex and delectable. The ragu at World is not so refined but is still fair and well made if a little sweet. So while my wife preferred my linguini, I would have preferred her ragu.

Both dishes were perhaps a little on the small side, something we both found forgivable since the prices at World are also modest compared to some alternative restaurants in the area (most pizza dishes in the early $20's, most pasta and non-steak mains in the mid-late $20's). The other advantage, of course, is that it leaves plenty of space for dessert, for which I ordered the 'Dark Chocolate Mousse' and my wife the 'Ginger and Fig Steamed Pudding'.

Dark Chocolate Mousse, World Restaurant & Bar
Dark Chocolate Mousse

Dark' is not how I would describe this mousse as it was neither rich nor bitter but sweet, light and creamy. The garnishes added nice touches to the dish – sour cherry compote that tasted like the cherries had been stewed in wine – added a nice acidity, pieces of amaretti that tasted of pistachio and a third addition that I struggle to describe – hard, tart and berry-flavoured.

Dessert, World Restaurant & Bar
Mystery Dessert

My wife likes figs and ginger is one of her favourite flavours. Unfortunately, we were served the wrong dessert. Our server did not seem to know the dishes and was not confident he had the right one. He checked with a manager who was floating nearby, who nodded vaguely in our direction without really looking and based on that our server threw us a thumbs up.

It was not the right dessert though. We don't think it was the quince option from the menu so it may have been a special. It had a shortbread base with sliced pear on top and was served with a vanilla and almond sauce. It was fair, but disappointing since it wasn't what was ordered.

World Restaurant and Bar is a popular choice for whatever you have planned for the rest of your Saturday night. The menu is diverse and casual and not extravagantly priced. Service was friendly, though a little slow even for a busy night and they did get one of our desserts wrong after all. While the food was quite nice, the prices attractive and, looking around at other tables we spotted a few items we wouldn't mind trying, overall we felt we would be willing to pay a little more for mains that were a little larger and a little better prepared.
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Why? A nice experience to launch a night out, celebrate a special occasion or after taking in a show
Phone: (03) 9690 6999
Where: Shop 4, Building 2, Riverside Qy, Southbank VIC 3006
Cost: Came to around $105 for two mains, two desserts and two drinks
Your Comment
Excellent review; with all the vivid descriptions, you made me feel like I was dining there with you.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12594) 2220 days ago
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