Level 2, 161 Spring Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9654 6300
I am so friggin’ excited about the arrival of summer. As the weather gets warmer, as the Aussie cricket team fires up and as gyms get more crowded due to the influx of people desperately trying to get ripped bodies before summer musical festival season approaches, there are many more flocking to Melbourne’s many rooftop bars to soak in the sun’s rays while they down a glass or two of whatever poison takes their fancy. Okay, so writing this entry while it’s sixteen degrees outside (yes, SIX-EFFING-TEEN!) is somewhat ironic but it’s supposed to be much warmer next weekend so why not get my readers revved up before then, right?
One of my favourite rooftop bars is Siglo, another player in restaurateur and bar-dude-king-person Con Christopoulos’ empire that spans several corners of the city. On Spring Street alone, he’s got The European, City Wine Shop and Melbourne Supper Club covered but it’s Siglo that post-theatre patrons, lovebirds and after-work drinkers like to talk about. Yes, the jewel in Christopoulos’ empire that shines as brightly as the illuminated Parliament House across the road does when the sun goes down. It was a favourite drinking hole of mine last summer and it’ll definitely be a place that I’ll frequent this summer, when I’m not flying to Queensland, frantically studying for my supplementary exam or cheering the Aussies on at the Boxing Day Test.
The only time I bothered to take photos at this place was when I organised The Bar Crawl To End All Bar Crawls with the boys sometime in February this year. After already having been to three bars, we went to Siglo as clouds started to form and rain started to threaten on an already humid evening. Thankfully, the rain held off the entire time we were sitting on the rooftop that was only flimsily sheltered by table umbrellas. To start, the boys had various beers of various origins and descriptors while I opted for a glass of Brown Magpie 2006 Pinot Noir ($10), a rich red from Geelong with a seductive mocha and spiced maraschino cherry taste, and one of the few local ones amidst an extensive list of Tuscan and French wines.
We nibbled on some party pies (three for $8.50) which were apparently home-made, but they were
liveless lifeless (hello, Marty!) and boring as fruck. The same could also be said about the crappy quality photo above but that’s beside the point. I did like the moorish tomato chutney that came with the pies but sadly, good sauces can’t disguise bad pies. I’m better off buying a packet of frozen four ‘n’ twenties from Woolies – at least you can get four times as many pies for that price.
Far better (and thankfully so) were the Ćevapi sausage rolls (three for $9), a flavoursome Balkan twist on the children’s party classic. I loved the flaky and oh-so-buttery pastry skins as much as I loved the rustic pork fillings that were sinfully full of flavour thanks to the all the paprika and garlic that mixed in well with the pork mince. This is another one to add to my ever-growing list of Things That I will Attempt To Make On My Own One Day.
I also liked the croquettes (three for $12) that came with a tart mustard aioli. Perfectly-formed oval discs covered in panko crumbs encased a lusciously velvety filling of smoked eel, jamon and cheese – they were delicious despite the fact that I could barely taste the smokiness amongst all the saltiness. Yep, they were a little on the salty side but thank goodness for the wedge of lemon that was provided to cut through the sodium onslaught.
I would have loved to order a toasted sandwich (maybe a croque monsieur or a Welsh rarebit with anchovies?) but alas, we still had a handful of bars to visit (and subsequently more snacks to devour and drinks to smash down) so we reluctantly said goodbye to Siglo’s chequered floors, attentive waitresses and their impressive cigar glass cabinet. But not to fear, we’ll be back again this summer.