Monday, 21 January 2013

Bar Lourinha

37 Little Collins St
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Merry Christmas everyone! (yep, I wrote this a while back) As lovely as this time of year is though, it’s become more and more stressful as I have gotten older. Organising decorations, Christmas dinner, and all the presents, I get pretty high strung to say the least. So a meal at Bar Lourinha is a welcome respite; it has all the ingredients for a relaxing night out – secluded and cosy, simple yet good food, and a small selection of quality alcoholic beverages, should I feel so inclined.

Tucked away in a little corner, shaded by trees and dwarfed by the parking complex, the tiny restaurant seems almost organic compared to the surrounding urban sprawl. Every spare inch of room on the walls is covered with assorted knick knacks, and we were promptly seated at the bar, menus in hand and having the specials (oysters, fried peppers and the like) explained to us.

Lardo 'Soldiers' ($4)

We started off our night sharing one of their infamous Lardo ‘Soldiers’ ($4). A finger of crispy, grilled brioche was wrapped with a slice of prosciutto that has all but melted into the bread. Finished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and spices, this was as fatteningly delicious as it sounded.

Yellow Tail Kingfish 'Pancetta' and Lemon Oil ($18)

The Yellow Tail Kingfish ‘Pancetta’ and Lemon Oil ($18) came with a side of good sourdough bread and pats of butter. Sitting in a puddle of light, fruity olive oil, the firm and succulent slices of kingfish were buttery and especially delicious enhanced with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of herbs.

Grilled Veal Tongue, Broad Bean and Mint ($18)

Feeling a bit adventurous, I ordered a plate of Grilled Veal Tongue, Broad Bean and Mint ($18). The folds of veal tongue were rich with caramelised edges, and more tender than the best wagyu. They were best eaten with a smear of the refreshing, grassy mint and broad bean puree.

Roasted Eggplant, Spiced Tomatoes and Boquerones ($16)

Roasted Eggplant, Spiced Tomatoes and Boquerones ($16)

We were still a bit hungry at that point so one last dish was in order – the Roasted Eggplant, Spiced Tomatoes and Boquerones ($16). We were initially surprised that this was a cold dish but after the initial shock, we piled pieces of silken eggplant, spicy crushed tomato and meaty anchovies onto sourdough bread. Freshened up with basil leaves, this was a wonderfully summery finish to our mains.

Blood Orange Crema and Burnt Orange Caramel ($11)

But of course, we always have room for dessert, and neither of us could go past a good crème caramel. We were told that the Blood Orange Crema and Burnt Orange Caramel ($11) was absolutely beautiful, not that we needed much convincing to start off with.

Blood Orange Crema and Burnt Orange Caramel ($11)

The burnt orange caramel was overwhelming, too sweet, too sour, too bitter. But once we got to the dense, tofu-like custard, it was all smooth sailing from there. It was rich, thick and creamy, and as long as you’re moderate with the caramel, absolutely beautiful.

Bar Lourinha is very hidden away in the jungle of the city but it has its own loyal following. It’s popular with couples but also with larger groups, such as the giggly gaggle of ladies catching up before Christmas on the day we were there. The staff were all lovely but our waiter, Michael, was awesome. They were down one person that night yet he still found time to explain the menu to us, and to stop for a chat every now and then. This is the perfect place to bring a special someone; just don’t let any of the waiters charm them away!

Rating: 15.5/20 –  michael <3

Bar Lourinhã on Urbanspoon

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