04 Dec Entrecote – Melbourne CDB
C’est Magnifique. With their original Parisienne styled restaurant in South Yarra doing so well, Entrecote have recently opened a sister restaurant. Simple in its elegance, this latest venture is located rather fittingly in the Paris end of Melbourne’s CBD, just off Collins Street down Alfred Place.
The brain-child of the pairing of Jason M Jones (of Prix Fixe fame) and Adam North (of Hopkins River Beef), Entrecote is allegedly a product of inspiration, derived from a lunch meeting in the Le Relais de l’Entrecote in Paris. It’s safe to say they’ve found a winner.
Fitted out with plenty of mirrors and looking like a luxurious dining room from a 1900’s French hotel, Entrecote offers up a very simple concept, Steak Frites. That is all you will find on menu for mains (with vegetarian and salmon options available) but rest assured, this is not just any old steak and chips.
The main event, priced at a very reasonable $39.90 per person, serves up a Hopkins River grass fed Porterhouse, cooked to your liking and smothered in a secret herb sauce. Accompanied by bottomless French Fries and a fresh side salad of soft leaves, walnuts, radish and Dijon vinaigrette this is worthy of being the only thing on the menu.
There are more options for both starters and desserts though, ensuring that there’s plenty of French classics there for all. From hors d’oeuvres like Gougere (savoury profiteroles with goats cheese, thyme and honey) and Escargot baked in garlic and herb butter through to desserts covering a traditional Creme Brulee or a Mille Feuille, everyone should find something that takes their fancy. There is also a happy hour from 4 – 6 daily, where you can indulge in $2 oysters and $12 Champagne.
This was actually a nice classic French onion soup, although not quite as deep a flavour as say a Bistro Vue, but still a very good effort. The Gruyere croutons covering the surface were great and really complimented the soup, although after tasting the Gougeres I certainly had some food envy.
While it may seem a simple concept, the Steak Frites on show were amazing. I found my steak juicy and tender and a good sized portion – certainly something Adam North can be proud of. It came cooked spot on medium as requested (something that thankfully differs from your typical French restaurant where no matter what you ask for, it’s coming out rare).
The fries were thin and golden, just the right amount of crunchy and salted perfectly and the side salad was nice and fresh, with a tangy Dijon dressing. The star though is the secret Sauce Maison au Beurre at aux Herbs, that’s herb and butter sauce to us non-french speakers out there. Good luck picking exactly what’s in it, certainly lashings of parsley and tarragon, some mustard and perhaps some garlic chives but who knows for sure. It’s punchy, packed full of flavour and incredibly moreish, although a little strange at first and I can understand that it may not be to everyone’s taste.
The Creme a la Fraise dessert was the perfect way to finish the evening, not only did it look stunning but incredibly decadent as well. Made up of profiteroles filled with cheesecake and vanilla ice-cream and then smothered in strawberry sauce, accompanied by freeze-dried strawberries, what I can only assume were sugared rose petals and a little silver leaf for effect.
The wine list may not be in danger of setting any records for largest selection, but let’s be honest here, you are having steak so you get a good match for steak, some cocktails and some nice craft beers and most will go home happy. The service on the night was great and they looked after us well, the only down side being a grumpy waiter late in the night not being too happy to take photos of the whole group, I guess he just wanted to go home by then and he wasn’t on our table the rest of the time anyway. A lovely night out and for the price I would definitely go again and look forward to trying out their happy hour. I highly recommend trying the Gougeres for an entree, they were outstanding. Oh and keep an eye out for the rather creepy woman overlooking the round table.
This may be a simple menu but does not detract from the value and quality of this place, it shows that you don’t need to have a huge menu to provide good quality food. Bravo.