I'd like to think that Daniel Wilson, chef and owner of Huxtable would have liked to have been Denise in a former teenage life himself. Or at least had one of her hairbands perhaps? And I'm tempted to make this post all about Lisa Bonet but I will resist.
I don't really know why this is, but everytime I see a pic of Daniel or on telly, I just want to give him a big wooly hug. I resisted the urge to go all fangirl when I attended a recent panel discussion on the Changing Menu at the State Library. (I should at this point mention that I held it all in when I met 2 of my culinary heroes - Andrew McConnell and Claire Davie)
Anyhoo, onwards and upwards. We booked a window nook at Huxtable for dinner on a Friday night. The place was already pumping when we got there with the smartly dressed set.
We settled into our corner bench and squinted our way through the menu. Having already perused through the options online we already had a fair idea of what we wanted to eat.
We started off with Champers of course as it was a celebration - a glass each of Biancavigna Prosecco from Veneto, Italy ($9.50 per glass). I am a big fan of Prosecco, and it was the only one on offer by the glass.
We also settled on a bottle of Remondo ‘la montesa’ tempranillo grenache blend frion Rioja, Spain ($65 per bottle) to accompany the rest of our meal.
Both wine choices were commendable.
We decided on a couple of bites to start with, and I threw one in at the last minute when our functional waitress took our order.
We had one Jalapeno and Cheddar Croquette ($3.50) to share. My tip for you is to order one each. Don't skimp. Its amazing. The Jalapeno and cheese flavours are a fried match made in heaven. This was the one I sneaked in and I'm so glad I did.
We then had the XO bun with crab, jalapeno & thai basil mayo ($6.50 per bun) - this is one of Huxtable's signature dishes and it is heralded for a reaon - and that is because its delicious. Definitely a must have when you go there. The flavours were all perfectly balanced. Jalapeno and seafood is a perfect match.
Our third bite was the dissappointment for me. But M loved the Crisp Filo log of lamb puttanesca, lemon yoghurt ($6.50). I found the lamb just a tad too rich for something that is billed as a bite. I'm glad we only ordered one to share.
For our mains, we opted for 2 choices, one "Sea" and one "Land". First up was the Roasted Blue cod, szechuan eggplant, pickled cucumber ($28).
The szechuan eggplant was suitably spiced and just the right texture. The lightly pickled cucumber provided just enough acidity. And the fish was perfectly cooked, but perhaps a little overwhelmed by the rest of the accoutrements.
Our "Land" choice was the Five spice quail, green mango, radish, palm sugar dressing ($27). As with the fish, the quail was cooked perfectly with just the right amount of five spice. The green mango had a bit of a cheesy hint. Not sure where that was from, I suspect that was the taste of the unripeness, as it were.
We both agreed though that if they had swapped the quail for the fish, both dishes would have made more sense. In other words, the fish would have gone very well with the green mango, and the szechuan eggplant would have suited the quail better.
But you know what ... we're just niggling.
To accompany our mains we ordered a side of Masala okra & morning glory, curry leaves ($16) from the "Earth" section on the menu. I really liked this. Its not usual to get these sorts of greens in a fanc-ier establishment like this, and a pretty big serve of it. But I kept wishing I had a bit of rice to go with it. Its an odd dish to put on the menu.
And finally for dessert, another of Huxtable's signature dishes, the Ice cream and fudge Sandwich ($12). The actual flavours keep changing. We had a chocolate and almond version, which was perhaps a tad underwhelming. And I really wanted to love this.
All in all, I can't honestly say that Huxtable wowed me, but its certainly a long way from passable.
And what the heck, here's a couple more pics of my teen girl crush.