I went to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert on Saturday night with some friends. Since Priscilla is quintessentially Sydney, it was only fitting to start the evening with something quintessentially Melbourne: wine and tapas at a small bar.
So many choices make for much menu reading however by the end of the night I had sampled Albondigas, Chargrilled Chorizo and Blue Cheese and Leek Tartlet with rocket. The Albondigas , spicy meatballs with currants and pinenuts, arrived as a generous portion smothered in a chunky sugo. Moist flavoursome bites but seemingly lacking in said spice. This discrepancy with the menu continued with the tartlet, I may be wrong as I grabbed one of the last, small bites left but I tasted fresh goats cheese, not blue. Delicious all the same.
We supplemented these little delights with pizzas and dips to fill us up. Roast garlic, artichoke and feta offered subtle flavours whilst off the specials board chorizo with roasted peppers was a little more robust. With a huge pizza oven protruding into the dining room you can be assured the base will be thin and oh-so-crisp.
I’ve not tried the larger dishes however the selection swings from Italian to Spanish with a large selection of seafood in between. Vegetarians may have to opt for the gnocchi, depending on the day’s specials. A long wine list offers most by the glass and bottle. Don’t be scared to sample the house wine, with the canary label, as it offers good value.
I’ve eaten here on numerous occasions and always enjoy the food, but I so have a gripe with the service. I’ve given it enough chances now to come out and say the wait staff seem to be more interested in appearing cool than waiting tables. They’ve definitely got aloof down pat. You don’t pay exorbitant prices at canary but it would be nice to devote your entire attention to dining companions rather than constantly keeping an eye out for the waiter.
Finally, don’t forget they’re open for breakfast. You should try their famous eggs in purgatory.
212 Little Collins St