Saturday, 22 June 2013

Siglo - Parfait, Caviar and Red Wine

When I was recently posed with the question of where one can eat and drink but also smoke cigarettes, I thought of the tables outside of European on Spring Street however knowing that Siglo, which is the rooftop terrace bar above both European and Melbourne Supper Club would not be as packed - or at least I didn't not expect it to be as packed, would make a good alternative that satisfied the simple yet smelly prerequisite that was given to me.

Once you emerge on the rooftop after walking up a flight of stairs that takes you past the Melbourne Supper Club dining room, you are greeted by service. Walking past the bar en route to a table is when you first see the view of both St. Patrick's Cathedral and the top of Parliament House. Plants and heat lambs provide unnatural barriers between your table and other guests and as I would find the smoker puffing away and sitting rather regally whilst he waited for us to join him and order both beer and wine.

My original plan was to stay at Siglo for an hour but time seemingly got away from me and it turned into a four hour eating and drinking marathon. Starting off with many bottles of Alhambra ($11.50) a beautiful beer from Spain that is a golden lager that is very drinkable on a cold winter night, we moved onto glasses of 2010 Artadi Tempranillo. This is when I thought I would only be at Siglo for an hour however this biodymamically produced wine that hails from the north of Rioja, Spain was excellent and either made me lethargic or encouraged conversation (I suspect both) so ultimately I made myself comfortable and stayed for the long hall. 

A very reasonably priced dish of escargot ($12) was arranged by the kitchen. Not simply served in garlic butter, but it also had hints of parsley and cognac, made these morsels of our garden friends very tasty and I would soon find paired well with the bottle of 2010 Bird in Hand Nest Egg Shiraz ($139) from the Adelaide Hills. Interestingly, this vintage was awarded Winestate Magazine's "Best Shiraz in the World" which I find intriguing. In this competition, 720 wines were judged and 20 of them were awarded five stars. This being one of them but this vintage also took out top honours curiously. Given the price point, it makes this bottle great value for money however is it the best Shiraz that I have enjoyed from 2010? Probably not however it was great to see the Adelaide Hills win an award of this type.

Truffled duck liver parfait, pear chutney and toasted brioche ($15.50) appeared on the mish-mash of tables that were assembled before us next. What always impresses me about Siglo, let alone European and Melbourne Supper Club is when you order a parfait, you get an adequate amount of bread. There is nothing as annoying as not having a good ratio of elements as it is very inconvenient when you ultimately must wait to have your foodstuff topped up so you do not have to act uncivilised. Prawn and lemongrass wontons with sweet chili ($13.50) contrasted the smooth flavours of the parfait and ultimately the oil inherent with the wanton would thankfully further coat my stomach as bigger and bolder things were being planned to come.

Caviar (30g for $250 at market price) would arrive next with a bottle of 2008 Domaine Faury Côte-Rôtie Syrah ($150) from Northern Rhone, France. The tart taste of the wine when matched with the caviar, literally left an explosion of complimentary tastes across my palate. This wine had great structure and made for a fantastic pair with the caviar however if I was in a more lucid state before this course of sorts, I would have enjoyed a shot of vodka just to cleanse my tastebuds from the niceties that were previously enjoyed.

Service remained more intrigued if anything because we were hitting it hard with reckless abandon however as my learned friend said, you have to live while you are young. Although in general we were tasked with topping up our wine glasses, this did not matter in the end because of the crowded nature of our little area. To have service constantly turning up to undertake this duty would have been inconvenient for all involved. Although there were only a handful of people at Siglo at 6:00 PM, the entire rooftop was buzzing at 10:00 PM. There were enough heat lamps running so we never noticed that it was the dead of winter but at the same time we did not bake.

I like Siglo. I like everything in this building actually and given the late, or should I say early morning opening hours, it makes for a good destination to finish your night or even quite the opposite as it is easy to lose track of time especially when you have such good food, wine, service and of course pleasant conversation to distract you.

Level 2, 161 Spring St., Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9654 6300
My Rating: 14.75/20
Service: 3.25/5
Ambiance: 4/5
Quality: 4/5
Value For Money: 3.5/5

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

At the time of this post, 82% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon like Siglo.

Siglo on Urbanspoon