For years, the Prince of Wales’ Circa restaurant has boasted an exclusive air in which fine dining, elaborate wine lists and exorbitant prices were the norm. It was always a spectacular night and the service and quality of fare well and truly matched the prices, but it was never the kind of restaurant where you could pick over one or two dishes, and a couple of glasses of wine... that is until now.
Director of the Melbourne Pub Group and man with the Midas touch, Julian Gerner (Middle Park Hotel, Albert Park Hotel, The Newmarket, et al.), wanted a space to connect with the bustling hub of Fitzroy and Acland Streets, with the view that there is no longer “a need for exclusivity or anonymity”.
With this in mind, the entire structure has been tweaked to adapt to the natural beauty of its surroundings. The main dining room has been moved to overlook Fitzroy Street: the balcony with its view of the bay and festivities below are now prime real estate. There’s also a cosy purpose-built bar area, as well as a more casual drinking and bar/dining area where the original outside courtyard once resided.
Circa serves breakfast, lunch and dinner: breakfast is a relatively standard affair; lunch is in 'n' out with either two or three courses and a glass of wine; and dinner is what you'd expect, with multiple options, a chef's selection, matched wines and tantalising dishes such as the coal roasted octopus with pork broth and dill pickle or the veal tartare with cured yolk and malted onion for entree, or the organic grain risotto with nettle and sprouting broccoli or wagyu hanger with burnt onion and truffle mustard as mains. Also worth exploring is the Chef + Sommelier selection, a six-course meal with matched wines.
It’s a new, more casual, era at Circa, but it's still Circa ... which is just what they are aiming for.