PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Arintji changed hands at the close of 2008, but has remained a fine contemporary cafe-cum-restaurant in its prime position in Federation Square. Its striking, ultra-modern exterior houses a unique venue that encourages a scrumptious affair. There are various levels, starting with an outdoor terrace, which is shaded under big umbrellas, and is really just an extension of the square. Inside, there's a large bar and a lounge area with some chairs and tables that create a cafe space. Take the few stairs up from the bar area to discover the restaurant. Here, the warm atmosphere embraces a burnt orange and dark brown motif, brightened by crisp white napkins and tablecloths. The spaces merge amicably, allowing you to order from the full menu from the bar or on the terrace in a seamless transaction.
The menu is designed for both casual and formal dining experiences. There are tastes, entrees and mains as well as side dishes and desserts. You might indulge in a plate of Daylesford prosciutto and some olives with a glass of wine after work, or before heading off to a concert. Or you could gourmet share plates and entrees for a quick lunch with friends if a full formal meal is a bit daunting. Among the tastes, the burghul-crusted fried calamari served with a full-flavoured aioli, and the small golden pastries filled with haloumi cheese are wonderfully delicious. Or, begin with the slow-cooked corned beef with pickled cucumber, tiny white onions and mustardy little tomatoes and follow perhaps with the Western Plains pork with cumquats, cider onions, fennel heart and borlotti beans. The strength here is that classic dishes are given lively twists of flavour, so they taste fresh and interesting. The predominantly Australian wine list includes a tempting range of wines by the glass and good choices at all price points.