All too often, it seems, we wait for a special occasion to treat ourselves or our loved ones. Valentine’s Day. Birthdays. Christmas. For me, I grew up in a family where we did nice things for each other all year round and the message from my mum has stayed with me into my adult life; you don’t need a special occasion to do something nice with or for a special person.
That said, as life gets busier and the milestones come at you faster, sometimes this can be easy to forget - even when it’s ingrained in you.
So I was grateful to remember the lesson when mum and I indulged in a degustation lunch at Eureka 89. Our waiter asked if we were there for a special occasion. Well, actually, I was there to review the place and share the experience with you. But, as it happens, time with my mum is most definitely a special enough reason to spend any afternoon dining in the sky.
When you go to Eureka 89 ‘just because’, it soon enough feels like a special occasion with a red carpet welcome on the ground floor. On entering through the exclusive entrance separate from Eureka Sky Deck, you’re escorted further down the red rug beneath your feet, straight past a long line of people waiting for the deck. You’re then asked to wait for the next available lift which will take your party – and only you – up to the skydeck level. When you hit 88, you’re politely welcomed and guided through to another lift to take you one extra level to Eureka 89.
If first impressions count, this is a good way to start.
Entering the chic and sophisticated space on level 89, you know you’re in for a treat. Guided from the lift to your table, your waiter introduces themselves and offers a pre-lunch drink before the serious stuff begins. Meanwhile, you can’t look away from the stunning views around you.
The degustation lunch at 89 on a Sunday offers five courses with matched wines. I’m not going to be a complete spoiler and reveal the full experience but allow me to divulge a few of the many delectable elements.
To prep, we’re presented with a delicate amuse-bouche, which suits the champagne we ordered on arrival (like mother, like daughter).
A first course of octopus comes perfectly paired with a Deviation Road sparkling rose from SA - more bubbles makes us happy ladies. I’m delighted to see that second course features in-season truffle and I’m further pleased when the 2014 Charteris Riesling from NZ does a brilliant job of cutting through the potato and leek.
Third course had me at ‘spatchcock stuffed with foie gras’, further sold with a Shadowfax “Minnow” 2014 blend from Victoria. My favourite dish involved NZ venison, with unsuspecting pops of pomegranate and pine nuts, accompanied by a Pittnauer Pitti Blaufrankisch 2014 from Austria. This dish feels like the heart and soul of the degustation at 89.
Dessert is creative, light and inspiring, even for the ‘I’m sweet-enoughs’ amongst us. Throughout, the service is impeccable - educated about the menu and wines with the right level of warmth and attentiveness (not too little, not too much).
My tips. If you’re looking to really admire or show off the diverse and beautiful features Melbourne has to offer, go for a lunchtime sitting. If it’s for something more romantic and sparkly to glance at in between swoons, opt for a dinner degustation; there’s something truly magical about this city from up high at night time. Eureka 89 is a fine dining affair; dress accordingly. That said this must be one of the few bathrooms where it’s entirely acceptable to take photos. The five course offering was a good size for us (we didn’t need dinner), so if you’re an average eater, five is good. If you’re a larger eater, you might prefer seven courses. Take your glasses or contacts if you’re short sighted like petit moi; you don’t want to miss out on this. Digest with a complimentary wander around Eureka Skydeck 88, if it’s not too crowded to kill your exclusive 89 vibe. And most of all, if you’re thinking it’s better to wait for a special occasion to dine at Eureka 89, it’s not. Go now. Life is special enough – and so are you.
Eureka 89 Degustation Lunch or Dinner
Tues-Thurs & Sun lunch: 5 courses $105 | + wine $160
Fri & Sat only: 7 courses $140 | + wine $220