What is love? Love is wanting nothing more but to see that special person at the end of a hard day. Love is sharing a wonderful meal with someone who means the world to you. Love is going out of your way to make your one and only happy. In short, love is an impromptu dinner at Horoki with my most favourite person in the world, after days and days of work that never seemed to end.
I’ve been itching to go to Horoki for years – way before my food blogging days. However back in the days of being 15, paying $40 or so each for a meal seemed astronomical, and entirely out of my budget.
The long bar and the round, yellow light fixtures like wheels of cheese were nothing new to me, having combed through each and every review of Horoki for the last 4 years. It is however, a little less busy than I had expected it to be, with only a handful of people enjoying an intimate meal, or a solitary drink and nibble at the bar.
|Garlic Bread ($5)|
Chris flipped through the menu, looking increasingly grim, before demanding that we order the Garlic Bread ($5). The sticks of buttered and herbed bread that came out in an adorably crooked bowl had Chris nodding his head in appreciation.
|Daikon Salad with Sashimi ($15.5)|
I’ve heard magical things about the Daikon Salad with Sashimi ($15.5), and when it came out I did have to admit it looked pretty... pretty. The selection of sashimi was a bit hit and miss, with succulent cuts of kingfish and salmon, but watery scallops and barely thawed tuna. The vegetable component of the salad was flawless though, a great mixture of fresh, crisp flavours in a nutty sesame soy dressing.
|Horoki Original Pasta with Spicy Cod Roe Butter ($15.5)|
“Yes, that’s definitely the best one”, nodded our waitress with approval as I ordered the Horoki Original Pasta with Spicy Cod Roe Butter ($15.5). And whilst the first bite didn’t blow me away, the distinctive flavour of creamy sauce with the subtle, briny pop of cod roe grew on me with alarming speed. I found myself fighting for each forkful with Chris until, regrettably, it was all gone.
|Sliced Roasted Pork ($14.8)|
Faced with a menu that turned him into Mr Skeptic, Chris had insisted that we order a dish off the ‘meat’ page. His choice of Sliced Roasted Pork ($14.8) was a lot less generous than the other dishes so far, and whilst the pork was tender in a sweet and sticky sauce, the accompanying vegetables were limp and flavourless.
|Tuna Carpaccio ($15.8)|
I had been looking forward to trying what’s arguably Horoki’s signature dish – the Tuna Carpaccio ($15.8). That desire diminished a little after the tuna in the daikon salad, and I had fervently hoped that they used a different batch of tuna for the carpaccio. They didn’t, and the tuna was still dense and tasting of the freezer. On a regular day I might have appreciated the bizarre but strangely right combination of parmigiano, raw tuna, soy, and mayonnaise, but it was impossible given the state of the fish.
Horoki is a lovely little Japanese tapas bar with a French slant, but I feel as if it’s a little past its prime. The menu is quite hit and miss, and I don’t think it’s changed at all in the last few years. It’s unique, certainly, but I’m not sure how I keen I’d be to come back for anything other than the spicy cod roe butter pasta.
Rating: 12.5/20 – japanese pasta.
Melbourne Supper Club
Level 1/161 Spring St
The Melbourne Supper Club is an iconic and most likely the classiest member of Melbourne’s bar scene. It’s stuffed full of saggy leather couches, and the large window at one end affords a priceless view of the Parliament building.
Being more a place for nibbles than for a meal, the menu fits neatly on an A4 page. The wine list on the other hand is leather bound, 70 pages long, and has its own table of contents.
|Creme Brulee ($11.5)|
But we were here for dessert, and whilst the apparently amazing sticky date pudding called, we ultimately settled on our favourite – Creme Brulee ($11.5). This was done well, with a thick and eggy custard hidden by a layer of toffee that straddled the perfect line between burnt and... not burnt. It was just slightly bitter but still full of crunchy, sugary goodness.
Melbourne Supper Club is so lovely, there is no doubt I’ll be a frequent visitor from now on. Some people may call it elitist and whilst it is snooty to a certain extent, our waiter that night was nothing but charming and accommodating. I loved how no one was rushed to leave; we stayed around for a long time after we had finished eating, and instead of asking if we would like the bill, the waiter simply topped up our water and let us be. But be careful – while you may very likely spend a fortune here, they only take cash, so make sure you have plenty on hand.
Rating: 15/20 – supperoonies.