Restaurant Reviews

Entrecôte's new location is a winner

A move to Prahran has taken this Melbourne brasserie to glamorous new heights.

By Michael Harden
Photo: Courtesy of Entrecôte
Eight o'clock on Monday night and Prahran's Greville Street is deserted enough to expect tumbleweeds. But at Entrecôte, golden light spills out from timber-framed windows and washes over a striped canvas awning and the people sitting under it on meticulously aligned French café furniture. On the mostly empty street, it's like Monday night in an alternate universe, a beacon of life and good times. Paris has landed.
Inside, in the entry level, mosaic-tiled brasserie area, charming staff decked out in classic black and white emerge from behind an antique timber desk to usher you up a short flight of stairs to your table in the enormous main dining space where the sense
of alternate universe becomes turbo-charged.
There's a man playing a grand piano as groups nestled into royal blue banquettes are knocking back Champagne and foie gras parfait or ravaging the seriously good lemon tart. Cocktails are being shaken at the bar and steak frites, fries piled high, flows from the kitchen's marble pass. The lighting – lamplight mostly, diffused through curtains and glinting off glass and timber and marble – knocks at least 10 years off your age. Little wonder there's a crowd. This is a cinematic restaurant where we're all ready for our close-up. In less assured hands, this level of theatricality and set-dressing might collapse under the weight of cliché. But owners Jason Jones and Brahman Perera have instead created a masterpiece of sorts, so enthusiastic it makes you embrace not judge.
Photo: Courtesy of Entrecôte
That they've been able to make such a large, unwieldy space so intimate is cause for celebration in itself but, even better, the fundamentals – food, service, wine list – have been paid the same amount of care and attention as the décor. They did have rehearsal time. The original Entrecôte in South Yarra was conceived as a pop-up but stayed on for years rather than months, valuable time to finesse a menu for a 200-plus-seat restaurant doing multiple seatings a night.
Excellent foie gras and chicken liver parfait comes with pickled cherries. Hand-cut beef tartare, correctly spiced, arrives with smoked tomato-flavoured potato crisps. What the comté soufflé lacks in delicacy, it makes up for in flavour while expertly poached trout with a pastis-tinted beurre blanc and salmon roe is everything you want it to be. The signature steak frites remains a signature for a reason (quality meat, crunchy fries, excellent herb butter). Crème brûlée does the trick without raising the pulse.
With a wine list that spends most of its time in France and Australia and keeps both quality and prices reasonable, Entrecôte ticks all the boxes for the night out at the bistro. An alternative universe bistro for sure, but a glamorous one, located smack in the middle of the comfort zone.
  • undefined: Michael Harden