The restaurant has the relaxed vibe that The Estelle has and I love the double ceiling height which makes it feel airy and roomy. The tables are comfortable to sit at and large enough for all the dishes so there's no uncomfortable plate Tetris going on. Service was snappy and personal throughout and the place had a real electric buzziness going on but not overly so that it becomes overstimulation.
First course was the Wagyu bresaola, shallot rings, purple cauliflower and hay ash and there was a secret quail's egg amidst the slices of Wagyu. Slightly warm in temperature I loved this take on a steak tartare. Meaty and then a tang from the pickled purple cauliflower and some smokiness from the hay ash. Delicious.
King salmon, shaved calamari, oyster, squid ink and saffron came next and this was right up my street. The salmon was so rich and fresh and the oyster added saltiness. Steve's not a fan of salmon so this was probably his least favourite but he still ate it all.
And then we were onto the main meat dish which was the veal cheek, hand rolled macaroni and miso which was topped with shaved black truffle. This is a special dish and I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes a signature dish. The veal is sticky, rich and heavy and is lightened by the green veg and the two tubes of pasta which have soaked up all the meat juices. Loved the macaroni so much. Having had so many courses though and they were all super generous in size meant that by the time this arrived we were probably not as appreciative of it as we could have been. I think that if we were on a two or three course a la carte then it would have been heavenly but as the end to the savoury courses on the degustation, it was just a smidgen too heavy. Fine line between ending heavenly and heavily!
A cube of pumpkin, pecan, maple and cream cheese arrived. I guess it's like a deconstructed pumpkin pie / cheesecake but pumpkin isn't really a dessert to me and I just felt it should have tasted savoury like pumpkin soup than like a mousse. Steve enjoyed it though and ate mine for me! We also had a second cube of blood orange parfait, white lemon, yoghurt and mandarin which was more my thing but not something that was hugely memorable. There was a chocolate, earl grey, milk and ginger on the menu that sounded intriguing and I think I'd have had liked to try that. Next time maybe.
There was also a little oaty flapjack type disc that came after we paid the bill and that was a delicious end to an incredibly impressive meal. Highly recommend Saint Crispin for its creativity, ambience and definitely for the savoury dishes. In my opinion they do the savoury better than the dessert. Don't get me wrong - dessert isn't bad, just not my thing. I'm itching to return though and try more. Saint Crispin definitely has its place in the Melbourne hotbed of amazing restaurants and what is impressive is that it has secured its place in such a short time. Mighty achievement.