As the doors to Syracuse open, the noise of the outside laneway drops away and you will find yourself entering another world. Oozing with old-school charm and sophistication, Syracuse’s 19th century design adds a unique, glamourous element to CBD dining. With ceilings adorned by crystal chandeliers and ornate archways, the open, yet intimate dining room is reminiscent of a white table clothed French eatery in a day gone by. Add to the equation, a table full of delicious European fusion dishes, expertly crafted from locally sourced, sustainable and mostly organic produce and you’ll soon forget that the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s city centre is just a stone’s throw away.
Syracuse’s kitchen is led by Victoria’s queen of pastries and desserts, Philippa Sibley, adding her classic cooking techniques and timeless flair into the European style menu. Serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can start, spend and finish your day with a meal of decadent proportions. Breakfast classics are the stars of the morning menu, with delicious options like fresh olive toast topped with baby tomatoes, smashed avocado and herbed ricotta. Espresso Syndicate is responsible for the house blend coffee, which aside from being brewed all day every day, is sold for just $2 when ordered as a takeaway between 7am and 9am during the week.
Syracuse’s true French and Italian flair starts to come to life at lunchtime. Start with freshly shucked rock oysters with merlot mignonette or perhaps a plate for Fior di Latte Burrata with pickled mushrooms to share. Move on to the local wild mushroom and chestnut risotto before indulging on a selection of cheeses to finish. During the week, an express lunch is hosted daily for those CBD dwellers hankering for a fine-dining experience without the wait nor the price tag – 2 courses for $39 or 3 courses for $49 from Monday to Friday.
See the evening in with $5 bubbles and beer every week day, kicking off from 3pm until 6pm. The close of happy hour is your signal to stay for dinner, and if the newly instated winter items, such as the aromatic saffron scented leek and potato soup with a fennel donut isn’t enough to draw you in, the decadent osso bucco with ricotta and marjoram will. Finish it off with another winter exclusive dish, the aptly named ‘Syramisu’, being Philippa’s modern take on the classic Italian dessert.
To drink, feast your eyes over the 34-page wine list, setting out your options according to vineyard and variety. The extensive wine list contains over 500 drops from across the globe, with a majority from Australia however a great deal of European labels on offer to complement the Italian and French fusion style cuisine. The same goes for the huge array of tap and bottled beers, showcasing the best of Victorian brews with a few German, Japanese, French and Belgian guests.
Whether you’re stopping in for breakfast, a long lunch, boozy dinner or simply to experience one of Melbourne’s leading wine bars, you’ll soon find a little European escape in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.