Collingwood and the inner Northern suburbs is considered the melting pot of multicultural delights in Melbourne. But nestled in the heart of Smith Street lies Saint Crispin; a restaurant devoted to showcasing the very best fine Australian cuisine and produce.
Recently celebrating its third birthday, Saint Crispin is a joint venture between chef success stories Joe Grbac and Scott Pickett. With an impressive work history between them; working under the likes of George Calombaris, Gordon Ramsay and Philip Howard at two Michelin starred The Square in London – you know you are in safe and extremely capable hands.
Saint Crispin’s menu changes almost daily, “according to nature’s bounty,” their website says. If you love surprises, then this is the place for you, as no two dining experiences will be the same.
As we merge deeper into the cooler months though, there are definitely certain ingredients and produce head chef Joe Grbac is taking full advantage of in his meals; like slippery jack mushrooms, pork, beetroot and mandarins for dessert.
Recently I headed to Saint Crispin for a friend’s birthday dinner, which consisted of a five course culinary adventure for the palate! The best part was not knowing what was in store for us until we arrived and looked at our special menu for the evening.
We began with Gruyere cheese-filled choux pastry, bread with caramelised onion butter and a shot of pea and ham soup – what a way to kickstart the senses!
First course consisted of wild pine mushrooms, chawan mushi, miso, fermented barley and peanuts; a cold and extremely fresh tasting dish. Next up was cured Atlantic salmon with calamari, oyster, chilled squid ink noodle and taramosalata – this was one of my favourites, with the salmon absolutely melting in your mouth like butter.
Third course was where things started to get hearty, with roasted pork jowl, warm heirloom beetroot, cumin, red cabbage and seed mustard – a rich dish that had most guests wiping the plate absolutely clean. While pork jowl might not sound that delectable, it looked and tasted a lot like pork belly, with Saint Crispin staff even telling us it is better! If this dish was anything to go by, I might just be on board.
The last of the savoury dishes for the evening was a Bannockburn chicken in the style of coq au vin, with burnt carrot puree and a spring roll – a great end to the dinner side of the evening, and not too heavy to overshadow dessert that was to come!
Dessert really was the cherry topper of the evening; consisting of a chocolate cremeux (essentially a chocolate mousse), mandarin, feuilletine crunch and a Jaffa ice cream. Not usually one for chocolate and orange combinations, this dessert was pure heavenly decadence – If I wasn’t so full from four other courses I would have asked for a second serve.
Dinner at Saint Crispin really was a religious experience, not to be forgotten and definitely one I will be praying to have again soon! If you have an event coming up worth celebrating with beautiful food, or just need a cathartic dinner experience, make sure you book a table at 300 Smith Street, you won’t be disappointed.
300 Smith St,
Collingwood VIC 3066