My mother is seriously hard to impress when it comes to food. She’s like a Matt Preston that doesn’t play fair. I can only remember one time in the last ten years where we went to a restaurant and she couldn’t find something wrong with the food or at least chose to keep quiet about it. In fact, in my hometown there are only two restaurants that are deemed ‘acceptable’ and guess what? Last time my parents went to one of them for their anniversary… standards had slipped!
She is also especially critical of my food. I have cooked only a couple of dishes in my life that she has praised – one being a crème brulee and another being a portion of nine hour slow cooked barbecue ribs. So the lady is hard to please. News of her coming to visit me in Melbourne for the first time however, brought with it an opportunity to impress (and make up for the fact I had forgotten Mother’s Day!). I wanted to take her somewhere I didn’t have to worry about, somewhere she couldn’t possibly tear to shreds, no matter the cost. I chose The Press Club for its convenient CBD location and longstanding reputation.
After the joys of taking my mother on a packed CBD tram we arrived at the restaurant in one piece. It was nearly empty at around six, however by seven the dining room was packed. The atmosphere quickly livened up with waiters whizzing around and the corporate party beside us getting stuck into the extensive wine list. The staff are friendly and attentive without being overbearing or irritating.
The bread was exquisite with ‘George’s own’ olive oil and black ash salt. I was curious as to what form my food would actually take after making a selection from the, rather cryptic menu. Just in case I still hadn’t figured it out the waitress provided a full narrative after serving our dishes. The description she gave caused both sides of my mouth to draw slightly closer to my ears, however I couldn’t take anything away from it, the food was perfect.
For my main I had chosen the Lamb – best end, bastourma, kohlrabi, borlotti beans, tyrokafteri . On first glance the brisket portions on my plate looked horrible – dirt brown rectangular prisms with fat rippling throughout. I was hesitant to try them but they turned out to be incredibly tasty and I was impressed with this manifestation of brisket. It truly takes a master to make something that looks like what I described, taste so good. My mother had the pork, which looked amazing, and temporarily made me regret not ordering it as well.
For dessert I shared the chocolate soufflé. This turned out to be best Soufflé I have ever eaten. ‘Not enough’ of the Tanzanie single origin ice cream, according to mum and she had a point. There were three tiny quenelles. A little bit more would have been nice, although they may just subscribe to the old adage – ‘always leave them wanting more’.
By the end Mother’s Day forgetfulness had been appeased and a new appreciation of ‘Modern Greek’ cuisine procured. Thanks to the team at The Press Club.
Don’t go. Try it. Must go.