Sunday, 12 February 2012

Bevvies and Snackage - a girls night out part 2

Ok ... I've come to the conclusion that when your hair is right, everything is right with the world!! So as Melbourne is gripped in feverish anticipation of the impending royal visits by Our Ladies Madge and Gaga, and Barry Humphries does his best drag in a mustard linen suit and cheap chinese thongs, and old frenemies share a conspiratorial conversation of very little substance, I remember last night's repast at one of the city's earliest tapas bars, Bar Lourinha.

Tucked away at the top end of Little Collins street, its the perfect place for a pre-and-post-whatever nocturnal flight has taken your fancy. Or if you can find a spot at the bar or a table, a lovely way to see the early twilight hours into the dark mystery of a Melbourne city night.

It helps if your fellow traveller's coat is cut from the same cloth as yours. Never a quiet pause, and generally never a dull moment with JD in tow.

Starting our long overdue catchup with a cocktail (or 2) at Bar Ampere, we ditched the Carne heavy menu (tsk tsk!) and the inflexibility of our backpacking waitress (I'm pretty sure some of those bar snacks could have been modified to suit dietary requirements) and moved further afield which was a wise choice all round.

Its a shame really because the cheese platter (sorry vegans, you'll just be on a liquid diet here) had some amazing choices with a decent amount of apricot bread and rustic cheese crackers for carriage. And having your cutlery stored in a little drawer at your table is a cute touch.

But propped up at the bar at Lourinha, we ordered dish after dish of simple iberic fare that brought colour to our cheeks (ok maybe the alcohol made a minor contribution) and to our conversation.

The evening's repast started well with Yellow Tail King fish 'panceta' and lemon oil. The quote marks are deliberate as this was pieces of raw King Fish done in a panceta style (contradiction?) and it was beautiful. It could very well make it into my Top 10 dishes of all time, although the list is pretty crowded. I think its the lemon oil that just takes it from simple carpacio to carpaciolicious.

Our next small plate was Shaved Cabbage Labneh and mint. In less capable hands, this could have been more tart than heart. But the kitchen here has great respect for the taste of sour and uses it has a highlight rather than the main event. The combination well balanced and satisfying.

We also had the roasted mushrooms and garlic cream. JD generously allowed this order to go through even though she's not an entirely a fan of mushrooms, and is getting less enamoured as she gets older (a bit like me and prawns). I would have preferred a different style of mushroom to the button ones we were served, but the garlic cream was yummy.

It was the Spiced Chickpea and Spinach that ruled the day. And I would have been just as happy having 4 serves of that with a bit of bread for soakage. It was TDF!! And I'm sure its something that you could easily replicate at home, and I'm certainly going to give it a red hot go. Stunning.

There was one tiny dud note. They talked up the Blanca's alfarojes a little too much. We were expecting squishy gooey caramel, but it was a little dry. On the other hand, we may have already hit saturation point, so perhaps its worth another sample on my next visit. And there definitely will be another visit or more.

So if you haven't yet been, its time to make amends.

PS - my shutter clicking abilities have recently gone down the gurgler so I make an apology about the quality of some of the photos on this post, and also for pilfering!


  1. Tops night! Still dreaming about those yummy chickpeas. Where to next?!

  2. Yah JD!!!! Welcome to the comments page. Can't wait for the next one ... do I hear wolves howling at Lupino???


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...