Popular bistro and fine foods store Culina Dempsey has closed their original store at Dempsey Block 8 and reopened a few blocks away, at Dempsey Block 15. It is now linked together with other outlets as a COMO Dempsey cluster of food and retail outlets at the front of the Dempsey Hill dining precinct. The new Culina Bistro (version 2019) is certainly bigger and newer. But is it better than the original one at Block 8? They opened at the new location a few days ago and we were there soon after to find out.
Under the same roof as the new Culina Bistro is the Culina Market which retails “specialist epicurean foods and wines”, many of which can be purchased and consumed at the Bistro (with the payment of a preparation or service fee). We will show you more of the Market in a subsequent post.
The new Culina Bistro is a much larger place than the original one. It is also less integrated with the grocery store than previously. The large dining space of the Bistro is now distinctly separate from the Market. In the past, the dining area seemed to be woven in between the grocery areas. The new place seems spartan and clinical. The bar counter that sits between the restaurant and the market is the most beautiful part of the new Culina. I think we prefer the old one in terms of
The New Culina Bistro Menu
The New Culina Bistro Menu serves up a similar selection of Western cuisine as they had in the past. They have carried over the option of diners selecting their food from the grocery section and having them served in the Bistro. A preparation or service fee is charged. We understand that fee is $15 for preparation of steaks and as corkage for wine and $6 for the service of cheeses. Which sounds reasonable to us.
For our lunch that day, we selected a variety of dishes and a steak from the butchery. Some nice warm bread were served at the start of our meal.
We selected a piece of grass-fed meat from the meat section of the market The 298g piece of Great Southern Pinnacle Beef Cube Roll cost $28.96. With the additional $15 prep fee, our steak cost a total of about $44. There was a choice of sauces. We selected black pepper which went well with the beef. It was a lean, slightly juicy and flavourful steak. I would be happy to pay them $15 to cook and serve it here than to buy it home and cook it myself.
The French onion soup ($15) received mixed reactions. It had a rich onion taste which was good. But perhaps due to the type of onions used, they imparted a lot of sweetness to the soup. The high level of sweetness did not appeal to some.