Crayfish & Lions
I never thought I would need to consider these two majestic creatures in one sentence. This exciting alignment was due to the Box on Collins' perfect location alongside the magnificent Regent Theatre and the world famous, globetrotting, Lion King musical production finally calling Melbourne home.
New owners need to bring new ideas to this restaurant dense part of town. Specialty seafood, typically you need to be as brave as a Lion with this 'fresh is best' celebration. Unless your next door to such a captivated and excited market seeking out something as celebratory to savour as their night at the theatre. Indeed the city was buzzing. The Regent Theatre, in all its Victorian glory, created this magical glow across the autumn leaf lined Collins Street teaming with excited families, friends, and tourists skipping along to savour this visual musical masterpiece.
We were excited too, with the only window view in this appropriately named venue. This unique, long, sleek, box design towers over 2 levels. Surrounded by Lion Artwork and a steady stream of theatre goers I was strangely out of my comfort zone.
Our maître’d greeted us like an old friend whilst validating his sea legs, explaining his career has been as a pioneer with the much loved Rubira’s seafood group. It was smooth sailing from here, menus dispatched, great wine selections for every price point...heavy on the whites we love with bivalves and crustaceans!
We ordered an excellent South Australian Sirenya Pinot Grigio and instructed the maitre’d that we were here to celebrate Australia’s best seafood in its purest forms so just do what you do best. After enquiring about the signature dish, the confident response was: "Seafood platters and crayfish, nobody can match me for crayfish! This fisherman has been my friend and supplier for over 10 years sustainably sourcing them from the pristine waters of the Indian Ocean approximately 2 hrs north of Perth Western Australia"...
It is market price on the menu but regulars know the price never changes as the wise owner avoids the central fish market, instead air freighting directly to the venue. How could we refuse what is best described as indeed a King's feast of Crayfish surrounded by Pristine Tiger Prawns, Coffin Bay Oysters, Tasmanian Smoked Salmon, lemon cheeks and respectful condiments.
Excited by this nautical extravaganza of perfectly cooked tender sweet crayfish, briny oysters, pickled octopus and crunchy prawns. Keeping it simple, it is easy to see why this is best practice with ingredients of this calibre. More chilled wine and we were in heaven. My seafood guest's Lion tails were wagging, almost defeated by the decadence of the crayfish, our maitre’d insisted we finish off our feast with some warm crustaceans, best described as global seafood tapas.
As one seafood platter set sail another cruised in with no less than 5 seafood preparations in various vessels, perfect for sharing, on top of the 5 sampled previously. Where else in Melbourne can you savour our seas in such a friendly fashion?
It was a considered and delicious selection of dishes, providing some global flavours to the table, which I whole heartedly globally encourage perhaps an increase in variety. My only comment would be that with so much rich protein on offer, perhaps some lighter and more sympathetic to the less indulgent proportions would increase the fulfilment of such an abundant menu e.g. gingered soy, Nuc cham dressing with the bbq replacing the mornay and batter on some of these fine seafood specimens.
As we reluctantly surrendered to the ocean's bounty, it was obvious there were many other varieties of seafood cookery on offer on the neighbouring tables, as well fine steak and poultry. All the food presented in a modern stylish fashion, this is not just a crowd pleasing kitchen.
Desserts followed the comfort and smooth sailing route with perfect sticky date pudding and an exotic ice cream selection.
Splendid seafood, splendid service we indeed felt like kings.
What Wilson says - Generous and familiar seafood extravaganza.
When can we go -
Tuesday to Saturday: 11:00am till 10:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am till 9:00pm