There’s never a better excuse to splurge than with birthday celebrations…

Over the past few years there has been much change in the menu and direction at Circa. Whilst I cannot say I have witnessed the changes in person, I have seen it through the eyes of other bloggers. The current décor is well pared back, with an elegant colour scheme of muted white, cream, black and timber. There are no white sheets in sight to add to its carbon footprint. The menu by Paul Wilson & Jake Nicolson has steered away from its origins, focusing more on Asian contemporary fusion cuisine that sprawls across several menu categories that is largely designed for sharing – yakitori, global street food, hot+cold+spicy, BBQ + feasting + mains, and desserts.

Much of the fun and excitement of dining at Circa lies in this part of the menu. Not only are the flavours punchy and moreish, there is an element of tactile stimulation requiring a bit of hand to mouth manoeuvres.

The juicy bites of soft and slightly sweet Fremantle octopus for example is eaten straight off the wooden sticks. While the plump shrimps wrapped in delicately paper thin golden pastry has to be dis-impaled with your fingers and dipped into the divine green tea & sesame aioli. I cannot say how much I adored those shrimps. If not for ordering half the menu already I would have gone for seconds and maybe even thirds.

Despite deceptively appearing so elegant on the plates, both the wagyu taco and lamb rib san choi bao requires you to get your hand a little messy, as both are full of juice that just uncontrollably oozes out. There is good heat (i.e. spice) in the kim chi, and there is nice balance of lightness in the san choi bao.

When it came to the ocean trout tartare, I was already won over when I saw taro chips. If you have never had taro then you are losing out. It works with just about anything – in spring rolls, in desserts, on their own – and of course in this case it brings a bit of crunch and earthiness alongside the tartare and caviar. Love it.

Finally, I had heard much acclaim for the crusted spicy calamari, and they did not disappoint. Give them a try and you won’t be able to stop.

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2 Acland St
St Kilda, VIC 3182

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