Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Entrecôte City, Melbourne.
The Alfred Place space once home to Prix Fixe has reopened as Entrecôte City, a more ambitious version of serial restaurateur Jason Jones's French-themed steakhouse in South Yarra. Marble-topped bistro tables, white tiles, opaque spherical glass light shades suspended from brass rods and a red neon sign are pure theme-park. Interesting video art and a more luxurious, less French-décor-101 approach in the upper dining room save it from collapsing under the weight of cliché. Another plus is the presence of chef Jason Rodwell (late of Albert St Food & Wine), who oversees a more substantial offering than at the South Yarra original with noticeable finesse. Steak frites is still the central event (decent Hopkins River porterhouse with bottomless fries, herb butter and a soft-leaf salad with a Dijon dressing), but there's also a strong seafood showing that includes oysters served with shallot vinaigrette and fresh lemon, a rather good scallop carpaccio with peas, lemon and crème fraîche, and a couple of pricey, hefty seafood platters (the $170 Grande Marée includes crab, prawns, oysters and sea urchin). There's also a decent breakfast menu (pastries, eggs, croquet-monsieur) and well-made coffee for a mere $2.50. The decently priced wine list leans French and there are good cocktails and a short, smart list of apéritifs. There's nothing here to scare the horses but Francophiles should be very happy indeed.
Entrecôte City, 6 Alfred Pl, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9654 8184. Open Mon-Sat 7am-midnight.
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