Another Reason To Ignore Lygon Street
The Italian word Enoteca has the literal translation: wine repository. This is something
that Church St Enoteca in Richmond has taken to heart, with a wine list that would be called
extensive if I were to understate it, but more on that later. As we wandered in from the cold
Melbourne evening, we were cheerfully greeted and shown to our table. The dining room is reasonably
large but inviting, with many empty bottles of very impressive wines distributed along the sides.
We decided we would go with all Italian wines for the evening; so began our night with a bottle
of sparkling, a Proseco Marca Oro Valdo Veneto. Supposedly a very dry style Italian sparkling, it
had strong flavours of vanilla. That said, it was quite pleasant, and seemed a fitting choice for
the meal that was to follow.
We accompanied our sparkling with a dozen oysters ($4 each), which arrived freshly shucked with the top of
the shells replaced. This impressed the party greatly, especially Dave who has spent many an hour swearing
at oyster shells. Following the oysters was a Quail, Mushroom and Prosciutto Pie, I have a theory
that whenever a pie is an option you should take it. On this occasion the rule proved itself once again.
Sarah enjoyed a light and refreshing rare kingfish, tuna and scallop dish.
Our second bottle of wine took a good 15 minutes to select, simply due to the sheer amount of choice on
offer. Dave was stuck on the pinot page for at least half of that time, but we eventually fell back on
our thoughts of Italian wines, and selected a Sangiovese Illmero Di Casa Nova (possibly
incorrect spelling). We figured this would go well with our selected mains. A special mention
must go to the Riedel decanters used, some more practical than others, but all surely help set an elegant mood for
My main was wet roasted lamb shanks, server with polenta and parmigiana-reggianno. The soft polenta arrives
first in a shallow bowl the lamb and sauce is then dished into the bowl at the table. The combination
that results is a beautiful lamb flavour and a thick polenta, cheesy type sauce. While I felt the lamb
was not as tender as it could have been, this is purely splitting hairs, it was by all accounts a wonderful
dish and well worth the $34 I paid for it. Dave went for the market special 400g wagyu rib-eye, Sarah the
Duck with Fois Gras and Black Pudding. A quote from the Gourmet Wife: "The duck is good, but the black pudding is
amazing!", and after being allowed a small sample I must say it was a fair assessment.
We finished by perusing the desert menu and shared a milk chocolate semifreddo with pistachio gelato. Simply
delicious. Church St Enoteca also has an attractive digestif list, and while I couldn't bring myself to pay $42
for a 50 year old cognac, it was nice to have that option.
We had a great night out at Church St Enoteca, and thoroughly recommend it as yet another antidote to the
Italian restaurants on Lygon Street. If you want good Italian food, a great wine list, and an elegant atmosphere
at reasonable prices, then head to Richmond and give Church Street Enoteca a shot. You won't regret it.