Friday, July 20, 2007

The Press Club (Bar)

72 Flinders St, Melbourne, VIC (03) 9677 9677

It seems that calling The Press Club on a Monday for a booking for Friday lunch, is a little too late. Luckily The Press Club has a bar just next door which serves a fantastic comprehensive Modern Greek lunch selection, which is cheaper than the main room, but the food comes out of George's same great kitchen.
When we arrived, we realised we were even lucky to have managed to have booked a table in the Bar, let alone the restaurant, every table was full.
The bar is still has full table service and I think, due to the size of the bar and the fact it seats much less people than the main room, you probably get better and more personalised service and definitely much more efficient service I imagine.
We both decided to order the Rotisserie of the day (chicken), lemon potatoes, Marouli Salad, with White Bean Skordalia ($25). What can I say. This is George's version of a Greek Roast, that is done perfectly! The Chicken has been boned, roasted so that it's moist and juicy and just seasoned. The potatoes are big, soft, salty, with a hint of citrus. The Marouli Salad was made with iceberg lettuce and was big and crunchy and the Skordalia was slightly runny with no overpowering garlic taste, just a slight after flavour. Delicious!

Dessert was Greek Doughnuts with Honey and Walnuts. ($9) I've tasted these before at the nightmarket. These are cooked fresh and served hot, drizzled with sticky honey, which almost sticks to your teeth. Not too sweet or too filling.
One pleasant surprise was that when I ordered Sparkling Mineral water, the waiter kept topping up my glass, as if it was tap water, which kind of freaked me out, because all I wanted was a small bottle. I didn't really want to pay $13 for a bottle like you get charged at most posh restaurants. When the bill came, I discovered I was only charged $5. It seems they have a policy at lunchtime that you only pay $5 for your Sparkling Mineral water, per bottle. Nice one!

When I found out we couldn't get a booking for the main room, we were pretty disappointed. But after eating in the bar, we were kind of glad that we missed out, because the service, the food and the cost was all so perfect. I would head back to The Press Club bar in a second! Definately some of the nicest Greek food I have tasted.


Cindy said...

Glad to see it lived up to its fine reputation! Lunch at the Press Club has been on my wish list for some time.

Matthew said...

Two things. Firstly, while I don't doubt that the bar's service is great, your suggestion that it might be even better and more personalised than in the restaurant sounds like the sort of thing you'd say to convince yourself that you were lucky not to get a seat in the main room. Which, trust me, you weren't. As someone who's had dinner at the restaurant on a Friday night, the place absolutely packed to the rafters and jumping, I can safely say that the service there is among the best and most personalised in Melbourne. In other words, you should still make plans to visit the main room.

Secondly, that said, you should also make plans to visit the bar again soon. On August 1 to be exact, and on the first Wednesday of each month thereafter. They're starting octopus and ouzo nights, where for about fifty dollars or so, bar patrons will be treated to all manner of octopus dishes and Greek ouzos from the wine list. It sounds fantastic, and I just wish I could go on August 1, but I'm going to be busy. Go for me!

Adski said...

Thanks for you comments Matthew, are you sure you don't work at the Press Club? If you don't, maybe you should, they could hire you as a P.R manager!Sounds like you're trying to talk people out of going for the cheaper version of the food coming out of the same kitchen! Even in some cases the exactly the same dishes! :)
Nope, we were definately disappointed that we didn't get a seat in the main room, but I didn't have any problem with the fact that I would have ordered the same meal either way, whether in the bar or the main room as they both had the Rotisserie of the day, only difference being that it was $2 cheaper in the bar. I actually noticed there were more choices on the bar menu with more meze options than just the main menu.
In regards to comparison of service, there was from memory about 9 tables of people in the bar and 3 people working in the bar on the day we were there, which means that each barman/waiter only had 3 tables each to take care of in a particularly quiet room in comparison, which says to be the service is extremely personalised. I'm not saying it wouldn't be as personalised in the restaurant, but our waiter was a fantastic bloke and had the time to stop and chat to us about the menu, the wines, the ouzo and the room. Time I seriously doubt that a waiter could have spent with us in the main room as he only had to look either side of us to see if the other tables were needing anything. Either way, it seems we're both in agreeance that The Press Club serves wicked food, some of the best in town, with some of the best service in town. Pity I don't drink, otherwise I'd definately be there for the octopus and ouzo nights. I'll have to settle for a lunch in the mainroom next time I think. Maybe next time I'll know to book WELL in advance!!

Julie said...

Those greek doughnuts look wonderful.

Charla said...

Keep up the good work.