Melbourne, VIC 3000
Ph: 9663 9882
I was sold when I heard the words "half price". I mean, how could any self respecting Asian not be lured by those words. So when I heard from my cousin Allan that St Peter's had half priced meals for that month, I rushed to get a booking. St Peter's is the latest child of Maurice Esposito, of Esposito at Toofeys fame. I haven't dined at Esposito before but had heard good things. Hence, my expectation for St Peter's was semi high.
The restaurant is located in one of the many laneways of Melbourne, and you couldn't tell from the exterior what the interior is like. A tiny unnoticeable door opens into a bar downstairs, and an elegant dining room upstairs. I liked the sparse clean look of the room, and felt comfortable in the space.
Our waiters for the night had cool French accents and had an air of elegance, however, the service didn't match. To be fair, the restaurant was newly opened, but the waiters didn't seem to be very experienced and did not look after the room well. Despite my photo, the whole room was filled about an hour after my photo. We were left waiting a long time for service, and the food followed. Our entrees were rushed to us so quickly that we hadn't even finished our appetisers, but the mains then took an hour after the entrees. My glass had a massive lipstick mark on it still, and my cutlery and plate was dirty. Guess I was just lucky.
Onto the food itself, the appetisers were the clear winner of the night for me. The Fried Sardines, Salt Cod Croquette and Carpaccio of Venison were all to my liking. Appetisers ranged from about $2 to $6, and I think even at normal prices would be good value.
The same value for money can't be said for the entrees and mains. The four entrees that we sampled were the Crab and Avocado Salad, Seared Scallop with Salmon Roe, Carpaccio of Kingfish with Chervil and Quail wrapped in Pancetta filled with Fontina Cheese. The crab salad was tiny and for $19, would have been ridiculously expensive given that it didn't contain much flavour. The theme for the night seemed to be a lack of flavour, as all four entrees had similar problems, sounding fantastic with loads of ingredients, but lacking flavour.
The selection of pastas sounded very tempting so three of us ordered that. The Potato Gnocchi with Southern Rock Lobster was super tiny in the main size. It was passable but the gnocchi was quite stodgy. The Yabby Gyoza with Roasted Beetroot was pleasant but again not enough of it. My Spaghettini with Bugs Tail and Chilli sounded amazing, but instead tasted like simple Asian egg noodles tossed in a wok with some bugs tails. It again lacked flavour and was a very small serving. Lastly, the John Dory with Mud Crab was surprisingly the best dish, with a crispy skin on the fish. It was, and I sound like a broken record, a tiny piece of fish. I know that quality matters more than quantity, but with mains easily over $30 each and into the $40 mark, I do expect a bit more of a serving.
We might have only paid half price, but the meal, with wine still worked out to be a whopping $70, and that was without dessert. We were extremely underwhelmed by the savoury dishes, that we weren't in the mood for desserts. The fact that the meal took so long meant that a 6:30pm start finished just after 11pm. Even if the meal at half price, if I were to go back, I would order appetisers only and eat those until I was full. At full price, I don't think I will go back for a while until I hear that it has improved substantially as there are many other choices for those prices.
Lastly, as a side note, maybe it was due to the location in the laneway next to rubbish bins, but there were a tonne of mosquitoes and I was biten so much. Take some mozzie repellant with you if you intend on going.
Overall Rating: 9/20, Expensive food that lacked flavour.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.