For a long time, Waterfront was one of the best regarded seafood restaurants in Melbourne. In a prime position at the Crown complex, it was a venue for a special night out and boasted an enormous range of fish and seafood, both salt and fresh water. Greedy Girl recalls one particular evening where she feasted on yabbies, that most wonderful of Australian freshwater crustaceans, somewhere between a crayfish and a prawn.

A few years ago, it moved down the river a tad to the Southgate complex. Battling the intermittent showers, Greedy Girl and her pescetarian friend Ms Divine recently glammed up to sally forth for another girls’ night out.

We had solid expectations. The place is always crowded and the only booking we could get for a Saturday night was early. We figured we’d ‘load up’ first on some yummy delights and then find a welcoming bar.

And so we settled in to an alfresco table. Greedy Girl is thankful the restaurant is no longer at Crown, not coping with the fiery, wooshing gas jets that erupt on the top of the hour. The alfresco area is open, yet covered, meaning we were protected from any lingering showers.

The wait staff were excellent. Opting just for glasses of wine, the waiter persuaded Greedy Girl to make a rather unusual choice, a sauvignon blanc which he said had plenty of oomph and would appeal to someone who usually can’t look beyond a red wine. It had a lovely bouquet and a much more rounded flavour than she would have expected. But as we planned to do the bulk of our drinking later, we attacked the food.

We were surprised how many dishes combined some form of meat with seafood. We asked for one course to be supplied without the meat element (more on that later) and shortly a complimentary amuse bouche arrived. This was a very pleasant small cup of chowder. Apparently the restaurant is noted for making its chowders to order. The board also contained a couple of slices of sourdough as well as olive oil and balsamic. Greedy Girl isn’t a fan of that combination – she’d rather mix her own oil and vinegar but she dipped the bread into the edge of oil.

Chowder and sourdough

Chowder and sourdough

And so to starters. Despite saying we’d like to share items and requesting side plates, it was a largely futile exercise – the table just wasn’t big enough and there were no stands offered to stack the dishes and make some more room. Ms Divine took the kingfish carpaccio (the main picture above), ate half and passed it over. It wasn’t the best kingfish Greedy Girl had ever tasted. It was dominated by the dressing and the salad, featuring Japanese radish. On the menu, the dressing was described as a “light chilli” – Greedy Girl thought it far too strong and Ms Divine concurred.

Greedy Girl’s choice was chilli salt calamari with mango, coriander and iceberg salad. It was attractively displayed but didn’t reach any great heights in terms of flavour. The salad with the mango chutney was, again, very strong and overwhelmed the calamari which was a little too resistant to the bite for Greedy Girl’s liking.

chilli salt calamari

Chilli salt calamari

And so to mains. Greedy Girl opted for a special, half a kilo of Norwegian scampi, grilled and served with a lemon paprika butter. It certainly looked impressive and the meat came away from the shells very easily. Again, there wasn’t any great flavour hit.

Norwegian scampi

Norwegian scampi

Ms Divine requested that the chorizo be withheld from the lobster risotto. This was really just a rice dish rather than a lovely, oozy risotto. It featured green peas, Thai basil, chilli, fresh tomatoes and crème fraiche. It was a very rich dish and tasted a little boozy. It was important to break up the little mound of lobster and eat with a forkful of the rice to round out the flavours but it also seemed a waste of such a lovely ingredient. Lobster is so spectacular on its own – it doesn’t really need to be surrounded by the other elements.
lobster risotto

Lobster risotto

All told, we were a bit underwhelmed. Having said that, it’s a very nice spot to sit and the service is prompt and engaging for such a large establishment. Seafood is expensive most places and this is no exception. Greedy Girl couldn’t see her way clear of wanting to “shell out” for that style of food again. The food seemed overly complicated – Greedy Girl wishes they’d pared the dishes back to really showcase the bounty of the sea.

Waterfront is a Melbourne institution and it’s in the heart of one of the city’s major tourist precincts. Of course, the upshot is, who wants to be in an institution? Apart from the very pleasant service, Greedy Girl feels there’s better value and more impressive gastronomy to be experienced elsewhere in this wonderful food city.


Southgate shopping centre, Melbourne

Waterfront Southgate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tagged under: , , , ,