‘Just because’ degustation at Eureka 89

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


Wake up calls for life

Wake up calls come to us in different shapes and sizes. For some, it might be a medical result to kickstart a healthier way of living. It might be falling out with a friend that teaches you more about others or yourself. Or, in the case of the small hours of White Night this weekend, it might be having your phone and wallet snatched from your hands as you text your life away, completely unawares of what's around you.

Melbourne is wonderful. But it's a big city that's getting bigger and as with any big, wonderful city there comes the inevitable darker side of crime. Naturally, if you put yourself blatantly in the path of this crime, you face becoming more susceptible and vulnerable to it. Point in case at 4am Sunday morning as I walked down a darker, quieter part of Little Collins St under the false security of a city alive with activity. 

Complacency can creep in when you live in the lucky country. I'm always incredibly cautious when I travel overseas and it's usually with a sigh of relief when I return back to the comforts of Australia. But we are not bereft of our own increasing societal issues and the fact of the matter is that walking home at 4am on one's own is generally not a good idea in most cities. Sure, in a perfect world we should be able to walk home at whatever time we like without fear of consequence. Alas we do not live in a perfect world.

My mother taught me about personal safety from a young age; being conscious of your surroundings, not putting yourself in the line of danger, listening to your inner voice. However, a few too many wines, a fun night with trusted friends in a trusted city, added crowd comfort from a big event, and the distraction of a world on the other side of your vortex of a phone, can be enough to momentarily forget these essential life skills passed down.

So it's a time like now that acts as a good reminder and wake up call that, actually, we do live in a major city that has real and increasing potential for serious danger.

My little run-in with the city over the weekend could have been infinitely worse and it's a chilling, sad reminder of lessons that can never be learnt for innocent victims like Jill Meagher, who also simply chose to walk home along an often traveled path under the faux comforts of a busy Friday night around her and CCTV cameras.

I'm sharing this with you as a friendly reminder to never, ever get complacent when it comes to your personal safety or that of others. It's a wake up call that I want you to benefit from too, without you having to lose your phone, credit cards, confidence - or worse.

I do not agree with the advice from police for women to never walk alone. That is neither practical nor helpful. Being conscious of what's around you, assessing your surroundings and situation, and avoiding putting yourself clearly in harm's way, however, are absolutely doable. 

Correction: they are essential. 

From your resident city girl, stay safe Melbourne. Keep an eye out for you and others. 

LMM xoxo