Nestled within the heart of Melbourne's thriving Collins Street business district is Collins Square Hospitality Group's hub of award winning restaurant brands Chiara, Bar Nacional and Long Shot Café. To complement the group's iconic restaurants comes Collins Square Catering and the Collins Square Cellar, outstanding hospitality services for discerning inner Melbourne foodies. From your morning coffee fix, to Spanish tapas and VIP sommelier experiences, Collins Square Hospitality Group offers a little something for every foodie.
Gastrology recently enjoyed an intimate 'Progressive Dinner' where we sampled the finest food and beverage from Collins Square Hospitality Group in an intimate dinner hosted by each of the executive and head chefs in their respective venues.
First stop: Canapés @ Collins Square Catering
Compressed watermelon, Yarra Valley feta, aged balsamic, oregano
Our evening began with canapés in the catering kitchen. Collins Square Catering is Melbourne's most convenient events and catering offering, with a seamless process from ordering through to delivery.
Our favourite canapé was the Duck empanada. The wonderfully flaky empanadas were filled with melt in your mouth slow cooked duck and served alongside blood orange mayonnaise. Topped with sesame seeds for some added texture, the empanadas were just beautiful.
Second stop: Entree @ Bar Nacional
Bar Nacional pays homage to the most celebrated aspects of Spanish food culture: a lively atmosphere, community, quality ingredients, careful preparation, and the fast-paced variety of flavours and creative combinations achievable with dishes designed especially to share.
The Bar Nacional menu re-interprets a range of Spanish classics in new and exciting ways, with Head Chef Scott Spence dishing up traditional Carrasco guijuelo Iberian bellota and a creative play on crema catalana.
Smoked ham hock and fennel bomba
The bomba had a wonderfully crisp exterior which combined beautifully with the smoked ham hock which provided salinity to the dish while the creamy fennel ensured that the dish had requisite balance.
Perrito caliente - guindillas, pork crackling
We loved this Spanish take on the hot dog. Sandwiched between buttery brioche buns are juicy chorizo sausages, complete with indulgent sauces and decadent pork crackling. These rolls wantonly disregard the current trend towards healthy eating and, as a result, are abundantly flavoursome.
Third stop: Main @ Chiara
Chiara's menu pays homage to the authentic Italian culinary culture, with a modern Melbourne twist. The restaurant's impressive wine list boasts a decadent selection of Italian wines, champagne, local favourites and rare, aged options alongside aperitivo style cocktails.
For those looking for an exclusive experience, Chiara's semi-private cellar room offers bespoke dining with personal menus and matched beverages for up to 18 guests.
Braised rabbit saddle, carrot, cardamom, guanciale & rock oysters
A myriad of well-balanced flavours enveloped the rabbit meat which was well cooked, juicy and tender. It was a rich and complex dish that worked superbly.
Fourth stop: Dessert @ Long Shot
Rumoured to be the best cafe West-of-Spencer, the team behind Long Shot understands that Melburnians take their coffee seriously, with expert baristas pouring a morning brew of coffee roasted by St Ali.
Coconut ice pops, passion fruit curd, baby basil
All sweet treats are made in-house daily by pastry guru Maria Lantelme.
From left: Brown butter panacotta, Canadian Maple croissant croutons; Caramelised chocolate puff pastry, cherry ice cream, vanilla powder
A local lunch haunt for fresh sandwiches, healthy salads, baked goods and treats to cap off your afternoon cravings, Long Shot has spoils for every palate.
Madeleines & caneles
We loved each of the sweet treats we indulged in. Each were a decadent interpretation of classic French and Italian creations that had been carefully handcrafted.