23 Bank Place
Mon – Fri: 7am – late
Sat: 6pm – late
Breakfast is served till 11
Coffee: Espresso Syndicate
“Coming in at #12 of best things to do in Melbourne according to Tripadvisor is the good old ‘Melbourne Walking Tour’. This is where a group of excited and fresh faced tourists beam with happiness as they embark in discovering the hidden secrets of Melbourne’s CBD. All armed with a camera, the tour cuts through alleys and points out key features that locals dismiss as ‘same-same’. Having accidentally bumped into this group on a few occasion – let’s just call it a hobby of mine – I now know that the windows of the David Jones building on Little Collins is uniquely Art Deco and that Bank Place is home to the oldest in Melbourne Pub – The Mitre Tavern.
Bank Place is also known for a long standing restaurant called Syracuse. Operation for over 17 years – which is quite a feat for today’s standard – Syracuse offers inspiring international cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s an institution in its own right; but on top of this fact, the location itself has its own history that spans back to the early industrial time. “A lot of people come here and think it was once a bank” mentioned the front-house manager, “but in actual fact it used to be a hotel lobby”. The space has retained its former heritage glory; the hotel front container is now the barrister and bar space and the kitchen operation is located in what was once the elevator shaft.
At the helm of the kitchen is new head chef Michael Harrison, who has devised a new menu that offers sharing plates for dinner patrons. The menu is also vegan friendly. As for breakfast, Syracuse offers a selection of classics to start the working day. With little sleep I was not necessarily awake when it came to ordering a simple Scrambled Eggs with toast [$12], however, it was the right decision. My scrambled eggs struck the perfect balance as the eggs had a lovely fluffy and creamy texture, well complemented with an great piece of sourdough bread. Topped with micro herbs, it was seasoned well and hit the spot before tackling the task list.
Having previously worked near Syracuse, I’m glad that I have given this old yet new establishment a go. With plenty of history and offering a casual vibe, Syracuse is the ideal escape from the bustling Melbourne foot traffic. It’s also the ideal location to impress the boss or have a corporate meet-up in the morning and a perfect date night setting as Melbourne turns to night.”
“Spring is coming, which means morning brunches during the working week become more and more likely! The sun raises its sleepy head just 20 minutes earlier which starts to open up a world of possibilities. It was a brisk, but not freezing, morning when Mr LB and I were invited to Banks Place in the CBD to check out Syracuse, a restaurant adorned with authentic European table and chairs for two outside the venue.
Syracuse is a beautiful venue with a very classic interior within a heritage style building. It has stunning arches sweeping the ceiling with Romanesque columns and bare, matching chandeliers.
Unusual green tinged wallpaper covers the front and back of the venue, which up close made me cringe a little but, when looking at the back of the venue from a distance it adds a beautiful contrast against the classic interior. It has an intimate feel to it and looks like a very beautiful place to dine for a corporate luncheon or romantic dinner for two.
My Espresso Syndicate double espresso [$4] was light, tangy and very nice. If I were working in the area I wouldn’t hesitate to drop in and order a takeaway. I was on day 3 of a 28 day fitness transformation challenge, which created a restriction on what I was allowed to eat (which is pretty much limited to white meat and certain vegetables for the next 2 weeks). Therefore, I ordered a custom meal of poached eggs add mushrooms add spinach excluding bread.
My meal was served very quickly out of the kitchen – within 5-10 minutes. My poached eggs had a slight lemon tang on the skin of the egg. The button mushrooms were juicy and lightly pan fried. The spinach was wilted (perhaps on the pan or booked down) as the flavours were nice and natural.
So here’s the tough part. Was I impressed with the breakfast? Not really. Was I impressed with the coffee? Yes. Was the service good and environment comfortable? Double yes. It’s strange to say, but there was something I really liked about Syracuse even though the breakfast was standard. I could definitely see myself going there for breakfast meetings or catching up with girlfriends for a Friday 2 course express lunch.”
Final thought: “Surprisingly good coffee”