161 Spring Street Melbourne, VIC 300003 9654 0811
|Opening hours||Mon-Thurs 7am-11pm,Fri 7am-12am,Sat 7.30am-12am,Sun 7.30am-11pm|
|Features||Outdoor seating, Private dining, Bar|
|Prices||Expensive (mains over $40)|
|Chef||Ian Curley & Trent Kerr|
|Payments||AMEX, Diner's Club, Mastercard, Visa|
If the Windsor Hotel is Spring Street's grand dame, then the European is her dashing nephew, handsome with his dark-wood outfit and gilt-on-glass frontage, but chummy enough to keep tables close along the long, warmly lit room. Adroit, affable staff take care of dressed-up diners and post-show patrons, delivering artful continental starters: a sauteed calamari entree is in fact a mini paella, with the squid, smoky peppers and tomato-soaked rice sitting in a small cast-iron pan. Likewise prawns dressed in olive oil and herbs come 'potted' in a tin, accompanied by thin, crisp toast. Reinterpreted mains might include deconstructed coq au vin, the dish of lardons, parsley mash and poultry perhaps lacking the moisture of its stewy origins. Pasta dishes, whether linguine twirled through with crab and basil, or a rotolo of pumpkin and pinenut (as its own dish or the foundation for duck confit), sit perfectly between rural and refined. Regulars know desserts such as chocolate salty caramel are too rich to tackle alone.