Steve and I ummed and aahed over numerous places. We needed it to not be ridiculously priced but fairly fine dining. We wanted to be able to reserve a table and not do the Melbourne queuing thing. It also had to be conducive to conversation and provide a pleasant environment to spend the evening as opposed to the cramped busy restaurants where you jostle with the table next door and have nowhere to put your handbag.
Finally we decided on Church St Enoteca. We fel the menu had enough to offer everyone something and cater to likes, dislikes and allergies. The fact we hadn't been there meant we didn't feel too much pressure as we weren't recommending it; merely trying it out!
Anyway we loved the art deco styling and we sat very comfortably at a long table. The ambience was right for us as we didn't stop chatting but perhaps it may be a bit too quiet for people who don't have lots to catch up on!
Service was attentive and non intrusive and our waiter addressed me as "young lady" many times. It's been a while since I've been called a young lady! He also seemed somewhat fixated by my English accent and wanted to talk about Premiership football an awful lot. Not my forte and I tried to get him to talk to Steve but no he seemed to like talking to me. Must be my friendly welcoming face and my scintillating conversational skills!
Anyway I digress...
We all opted for entrees but I didn't take pictures. Between the 6 of us we ordered carpaccio, duck, trout and I had a seafood spaghetti. Everyone seemed happy with their choices. I enjoyed the spaghetti - not as delicious as the version at The Atlantic but still pretty tasty with a tangy white wine almost broth and a touch of tomato.
Steve and I both went for the Abbachio alla Romana described as braised suckling lamb with a parmesan crust and gnocchi alla romana. I don't usually like to order the same dish but given we were seated at opposite ends of the table I was happy to do so.
The triangle of gnocchi arrived alone on the dish and then shortly after a pan of braised lamb arrived which was scooped onto my plate. It smelt beautiful - all herby and lamb like.
In terms of taste, it was nice enough. Not mind blowingly so and aside from the gnocchi a little part of me felt that I could make a good lamb stew at home that would be comparable. Having said that the gnocchi was light fluffy with a slightly crispy outside and that was delicious with the stew juices.
I chose the bombolini and enjoyed most of it. The hazelnut foam was yum as was the espresso ice cream. The doughnuts weren't actually filled with anything and were a little dry so the hazelnut foam helped. I wasn't too keen on all the citrus peel topping either.
I heard really good things about the semifreddo about the flavours and the textures so it obviously worked well.
Church St Enoteca was a great place for our occasion. The food may not have been memorable but it certainly was decent and enjoyed by all. The environment and ambience was exactly what we were seeking so overall I was really pleased.