delicious.100: European is one of Melbourne’s best restaurants (Herald Sun)

YOU could snag a stool next door at the City Wine Shop or go upstairs to Siglo to drink in the view. But for many of us, there’s no going past the European.

This Melbourne institution — as much a part of the city as Parliament House opposite — casts a spell on all those who push open its swing doors and settle in for Ian Curley’s robust Euro fare.

Yes, some of the sturdy timber tables here are too small for the plates landing on them. And, yes, you’ll have to crane your neck to spot the blackboard specials. But don’t worry: you’re going to relish Curley’s ocean trout crudo, his oxtail ravioli, his Provencal fish stew.

The suckling pig presse never comes off the menu, not when the pink porky meat is so artfully assembled with black pudding and apple.

There is impeccably presented cheese, of course, and a cracking dessert list. European Bombe Alaska — as spiky as an armadillo — really rocks. As for the wine … you won’t find any Australian labels here, just a cellar brimming with top drops from France, Italy and Spain.

The service can vary — attentive one day, skittish the next — but you’re going to come back, aren’t you? It is the European way.

Must eat dish: suckling pig presse

EUROPEAN

161 Spring St, city.

Ph: 9654 0811

theeuropean.com.au

Cuisine: contemporary

Chef: Ian Curley

Price: between $41 and $80 a person for two courses, food only

Bookings: yes

Open: Mon-Fri 7am-late, Sat-Sun 7.30am-late

Instagram: @theeuropeanmelbourne

This restaurant was ranked the 80th best restaurant in Victoria in the 2016 edition of the delicious.100.