PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Circa, the Prince, which has featured on the Melbourne fine dining scene for years, has a new lease of life after refurbishment completed in early 2012. This St Kilda restaurant has been transformed to a darker, more mature version of is former self. Here nature and industry collide, combining iron roof structures with foliage both in and outside, amongst a muted colour palate. The new brass bar and cocktail lounge is retro, in a modern way, and a great place to unwind in a high-backed loveseat while waiting for your table. You'll need to resist the urge to spend half of dinner poring over the 57 page wine list, with a world of choice at your fingertips, it's a good excuse to change tack from the usual suspects.
The menu by Head Chef Jake Nicolson is equally inspiring – departing from the tradition of entrée, main and dessert selection to a menu of small sharing plates. His cuisine reflects refined French and slow-food techniques, often with a salute to East Asian Street food, Japanese cuisine and the Mediterranean. A passion for the best seasonal produce, including exotic ingredients and artisanal produce, along with organic and heirloom herbs and vegetables from Circa's own kitchen garden, brings a purity of flavour to the table.
Dessert should not be missed, a fusion of cultures and ingredients, it's bound to steal the show, must like the theatrical spot lights positioned above each table.