November 29, 2011

Bar Lourinhã

Date visited: 23rd September 2010

37 Little Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC
(03) 9663 7890
Food: Tapas/Bar dining, Spanish, Latin American

Nestled in amongst boutique shops, lavish apartments and chic eateries is this funky little bar that dishes out the most amazing grub one could ever want while sipping away on a glass of Spanish Syrah or Italian lager beer. If you haven't been here before, Bar Lourinhã is the place to visit when you don't want the chance to be disappointed - it manages to deliver on food, service and atmosphere every single time. The place might be a little hard to recognise though, as there isn't a distinguished sign out the front - just a thin, fancy script along the window.  We were only able to spot it because there was a great big number "39" in front of the place next door.

Bonus points go to our waiter, a friendly, chirpy and cool fellow who was very knowledgeable about the menu items. On arrival, there wasn't a table free, but he managed to have us seated at one of the high share tables within a few minutes. I have a pet peeve with places, especially tapas-style restaurants, which fail to inform their customers that the kitchen is about to close and when it comes to trying to order more food, be told "Sorry, only dessert is available at the moment."  In this instance, we were grateful to be told that last orders for savoury food were being taken, and happily obliged for another serving of juicy, grilled lambs tongue. There's nothing worse than still feeling a little peckish, and not being able to order that one more dish to satisfy your cravings!

Upstairs - the entrance to the private dining room, aptly named "The Chapel"

Fresh rye bread

Yellow tail kingfish 'pancetta' & lemon oil - deliciously slippery and citrusy

Grilled Crystal Bay prawns 'a la pancha' - with a touch of chilli that lingers on the tongue. We used the rye bread to mop up all the tangy juices at the bottom

Grilled lambs tongue & pimenton sauce - the tongues had a bitey texture, but were still tender and very flavoursome. The slight gamey note paired well with the sweet capsicum and creamy potatoes.

Cabra Chanfana - Portugese style; Goat that is slow-braised with dry sherry, onion and sweet paprika. The meat pulls apart ever so easily and just melts in your mouth. All that slow cooking has broken down the tough parts and created some seriously delicious fat and intense juices.

Shredded cabbage and mint with labne - with bits of radish, red onion, parsley and fennel fronds. Raw, crisp and slightly sour (from the labne), this salad lent some freshness and cut through the richness of our accompanying dishes.

Iced chocolate & chestnut trifle - layers of what appeared to be a thick chocolate mousse and Chantilly cream, with chestnut cake pieces at bottom that had that freshly baked taste to them.

Pomegranate crema & pistachio praline - in a spoonful, you are first wooed by the smooth and creamy panacotta-like base, then are hit with crunchy bits of pistachio and bittersweet toffee and finally bursts of tart pomegranate come through.


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