Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the French Christian patron saints of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers. Born to a noble Roman family in the 3rd century AD, Saints Crispin and Crispinian, twin brothers, fled persecution for their faith, ending up in Soissons, where they preached Christianity to the Gauls and made shoes by night.
Although not desanctified they were removed from the register of saints because there is insufficient evidence that they actually existed! I think they might well have been forgotten all together despite their good works, and perhaps even their cooking, had not St. Crispins Day been made memorable in an incredible inspirational speech penned by Shakespeare for Henry V at the battle of Agincourt.
300 Smith Street was formerly the work place of a shoe maker so it is fitting that Scott Pickett and his partner Joe Grbak should have named their new restaurant Saint Crispins. It occupies a large room with an exceptionally high ceiling.
A large bar and kitchen occupy most of one side of the room leaving a very comfortable L shaped space which can seat up to 60 patrons. There has been a lot of thought put into the place. Seating is very comfortable, tables, made from recycled wood, are longer than usual making for much less crowding, and, with unobtrusive back ground music, the over all atmosphere is warm and welcoming.
We were offered an amuse bouche, a thin potato crisp with bobs of a tomato sauce, finely chopped scallops and some greens before we got to the food.
The menu is set out in with a couple of 'Little Bites' Natural Coffin Bay oysters $16/$30 and Saint Crispin charcuterie ($32) followed by three sections of four dishes, entree's mains, one of each being a vegetarian option, and desserts, as well as sides ($9) Patrons are invited to have two courses for $50 or three for $60.
Everything on the menu looked interesting. We started by sharing the charcuterie which was excellent, as good as I've ever had. Served with toasted brioche the home made sausage made by Joe''s Croatian father was outstanding, as was the duck and pork terrine, the foie gras parfait, the wagyu bresaola and the prosciutto. Additional bread with a beaut caramelized onion butter as well as regular butter capped of this fantastic platter.
We shared an entree of Grimaud duck, heirloom beets, foie gras parfait and cumquat with a handsome amount of shaved Tasmanian truffles ($25). This dish demonstrated great skill in bringing together ingredients which melded, by the dressing, and with some roasted oats for a bit of crunch, it came together to make an excellent dish. Flavours were distinct but not dominating, even the cumquat's normal bitterness had been modified make it fit the dish.
Flinders Island lamb, nettles, radish tops and slippery jacks was delicate and refined. I would have preferred it a little more pink but it was quite moist. All the fat had been trimmed from the lamb which was very tender and the vegetables were beyond criticism.
Every element of the veal cheek, hand rolled macaroni, miso eggplant and almonds was perfectly prepared. Simply excellent. The macaroni, very much in the Italian style superb and the cheek meltingly tender and tasty. It also came with a large piece of sweetbreads, an offal lovers delight.
A side dish of new season Kifler potato, seaweed, and sesame butter was also perfect with these mains.
Carrot, star anise, almond and honey was a clever dessert. The common orange carrot was sliced thin and candied, yellow carrot was made into a sweet puree and purple carrot rings were well cooked in tender rings. Not too rich it was the best end to a fine dinner.
Service was extremely friendly. Ash, who looked after us was well informed and full of information. The wine list is modest but more than adequate.
In all a very excellent meal in a very pleasant space.
Will we go back - absolutely for sure.