Church St Enoteca is an understated venue located on one of Richmond's well established business precincts. Surrounded by historical buildings Church St Enoteca was originally a metal works, established in the early 1900's with many original features still remaining.
"We should live to eat, not eat to live!! – Italian food proverb. Italian food is essentially seasonal, food is localised, and the distance travelled from pasture or vine to plate or glass is never far. Our philosophy at Church St Enoteca is to respect this and attempt to maintain a strict adhererence to this ideal - however as everyone knows, nothing in Italian food is set in stone!! So you may find a little something from afar on your plate" says Chef Sebastian McQuarrie.
Sebastian was born in New Zealand in Palmerston North, North Island and developed a passion for cooking at a young age. He moved to country Victoria at the age of 17, where he started his first job in hospitality as an apprentice chef, before qualifying and moving to Melbourne where he worked in more respected kitchens. Sebastian continued to grow as a chef working under some fantastic leaders at Donovans before doing a brief stint at the signature restaurant of Queensland's Hamilton Island, The Yacht Club.
After missing the food, footy and culture of Melbourne, he returned to continue the passion for Italian food at Church St Enoteca as Sous Chef. Working under Chef Adam Mead, Sebastian expanded his knowledge about regional influence on the Italian menu.
PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
A long-standing icon in Richmond, the multi-award winning Church Street Enoteca has been serving authentic Italian food long before the suburb was pronounced a culinary hot spot. The restaurant itself is steeped in history, housed at the site of a former metal works factory, with the original hardwood flooring still in use today. Inside the art-deco dining room, simple white walls are adorned with Italian pop-art posters, while hanging light fixtures form two lines dividing the centre of the room. It sounds cliché but the atmosphere can't be described as anything but romantic with its cosy linen-draped tables, Riedal glassware and full silver service.
The seasonal menu offers modern Italian dishes, each of which are executed with adept precision. A dish of vitello tonnato is elevated to fine dining standards without losing its origins, pairing slices of lightly seared tuna and poached veal with a thin tuna aioli. The crayfish and snapper tortelli is testament to the skill found in the kitchen – with handmade parcels floating in a clear, condensed broth that captures the subtle essence of crayfish. Main dishes progress into heartier plates such as Umbrian pork chop, atop a mixed bean and a crispy pork belly salad, while a dish of braised duck leg and steamed duck breast balances out the rich flavours with pickled wild mushrooms and a parsnip puree. Dishes on the dessert menu are aptly named by their key flavours. Take the ‘coffee and donuts', the restaurant's contemporary take on tiramisu; the dish is topped with espresso foam and served with warm Italian bomboloni. It's large enough to share, so be warned.
Church Street Enoteca is testament that good, classic Italian food will always have a place on the culinary scene.