Birthdays in my family are excuses to either cook up a feast at home or go out to a nice restaurant. To be honest…usually both.
Circa, the Price has been on both my sisters’ wish list and mine for a very long time so this year she decided to book us in long in advance.
My sister’s birthday is in the middle of December. This usually sees us getting a little over excited as the birthday and Christmas season nears. This year was no different. I found myself tweeting excitedly at Circa almost two weeks out!
When we arrived we all headed up stairs and took a seat in the bar to enjoy a pre-drink. The bar is dark and sophisticated and kept us quite happy for almost 45 minutes. My dad finally decided we should head to our table and caught the eye of one of the staff.
We were seated by our waiter and the wonderful sommelier Matt Brooke who both already knew exactly who we were and wished Jess a very happy birthday. This was a clear demonstration of the service that followed. The whole team was professional, and very knowledgeable. While I never had an empty glass or a need not being met I never felt watched – a true sign of good service.
After having a look at the menu, our waiter informed us of the appetisers which of course we ordered as well.
We all ordered the same appetizer. It was a basil wrapped prawn that was then battered.
These were a delicious start to the night. Fresh prawns, crisp light batter and a kick of flavour from the basil, yum.
On to the entrée’s.
My sister and I, who have quite similar tastes in food, ordered the Rock Lobster Raviolo with Champagne and Avruga.
This dish was divine. Fresh lobster meat was complemented perfectly by the pasta and the creamy yet light sauce it was served with. The Avruga offered another delicate layer of texture.
While waiting for our main course we were happily chatting and drinking away; (we are quite a chatty family) really enjoying the atmophere. As it was summer, the light was still coming through the open yet covered roof and the green and white interior along with the interesting furniture all popped in the dinning room. It was fun and vibrant while still feeling intimate and sophisticated.
As a complete surprise to us, our waiter returned with a very generous offering on the house thanks to the very talented Jack Nicolson. With a simple Happy Birthday, 6 plates of the White Alba truffle risotto were placed in from of each of us.
We were simply in heaven. This dish was out of this world. It was creamy and balanced and showcased the beautiful flavour of the truffle. A real treat!
Then we moved onto our mains. I was umming and ahhing during the ordering stage, having a lot of trouble coming to a decision, when my dad asked if anyone would be up for sharing the 48 hour mutton shoulder which was served with piquillo peppers stuffed with green olives and crushed kipfler potatoes and broccolini. I was sold!
I was not at all disappointed with this decision. The mutton was so tender and soft and just fell apart under my fork and the peppers were amazing filled with a salty creamy mixture. The whole dish was topped with a delicious crunch, which appeared to be a bread crumbing or something of the sort.
The table shared two sides: Cumin roasted beets with sheep’s milk yoghurt, honey and almond, as well as the Beans and Pulses with cracked faro, salted ricotta and caperberries. Both were great with good mixtures of textures and flavours.
As the end of the night I was almost going to pass on dessert when someone offered to share Circa’s Rocky Road – the eighth sin. I couldn’t say no.
After the night that we had just had I was not surprised at all that the dessert was fantastic. Marinated cherries, chocolate coated biscuits, cream and an array of other delicious ingredients came together to complete a perfect evening.
As we left I was sure that this had been one of the best meals of 2011 and I am still sticking to that.
Thank you to Matt and Jack and the whole team for making it a fantastic evening and a birthday my sister will remember for a long time coming.