37 Little Collins street, Melbourne
On one of the last nights Joel and Meri were in Melbourne a bunch of us went to Bar Lourinhã for dinner and drinks. It was pretty packed inside (though the restaurant is small) and seemed mostly to be people hanging out after work.
We sat by the window under a funky chandelier and, after the two women in the photo left, managed to appropriate most of the seating there.
I ordered a G.G. Collins, which was gin and gentiane with lemon, blood orange, mint and ginger beer ($17). I don’t have a photo of it, but it was really refreshing and made me want to recreate it at home. I was expecting a larger drink for the price – it arrived in a lowball glass and I thought it was overpriced (which really, I should have taken as a Sign of Things To Come)
We started with some complimentary bread, which was really hearty and moist, and almost fruity in taste. The bread was fantastic and Bar Lourinhã were really good about refilling it (I think we had it refilled about three times during the course of the dinner).
The menu was pretty small so our group tried almost everything. We started with cracked green olives ($8) which were nice, but not noticeably different from olives that don’t cost 50c each.
We also ordered some pickled sardine banderillas, which were skewers of pickled chillis and sardines ($5 each). Once again, they were nice and tangy, but $5 each???
I think this is the yellow tail kingfish “pancetta” and lemon oil ($18). I vaguely remember it being fairly soft and oily and not particularly lemony, but they didn’t leave a strong impression.
When we saw mozzarella, anchovies, and garlic crumbs ($18) on the menu I commented that it sounded more like food toppings rather than an actual dish. The garlic crumbs were more substantial than they sounded (they were more like bits of garlic wafer) but overall I found it fairly unsatisfying. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been a big fan of mozzarella – I’ve always thought it was a really bland cheese.
Meri and I were a bit apprehensive about trying the morcilla croquetas ($4 each) since neither of us have had blood pudding before. We psyched ourselves up so hard, but in the end you couldn’t really taste the blood pudding – it didn’t really taste different to any number of (cheaper) croquettes that I’ve eaten before.
Things picked up a bit when the larger dishes started coming out. The Moreton Bay bug tortilla ($22) was one of James’ favourite dishes of the night. It was very creamy, though came in a tiny entree-sized portion.
The shaved cabbage, labneh and mint ($16) was one of my favourite dishes – James was quite shocked that I preferred it to the tortilla. It was like a super light coleslaw and I was a big fan.
The roasted mushrooms with garlic cream ($15) were also very popular. They were super garlicky and I enjoyed using the bread to sop up the leftover sauce.
The pickled veal tongue and broad beans ($18) were a definite miss for me. I normally enjoy pickled flavours, but the tongue was really dry.
The slow cooked pork butt and piri piri ($24) was another one of James’ favourite dishes. It was meltingly tender and was robustly flavoured.
As you can see, my photos deteriorated as the night went on and the light faded, and I got a bit sloppy. This is the house made free range chorizo, apple and cider ($20). I loved the flavour of this, but some of the chorizo bits were a bit drier than I like. But the apple parts were like awesome juicy apple explosions in my mouth and I thought they were fantastic.
And here is my blurry shot of the spiced chickpeas and spinach ($15). They were alright, nothing special.
As you can probably tell I was pretty “meh” about the food. Including drinks it came to about $70-75 a head, which I think was waaaay overpriced for what we got (awesome bread notwithstanding). Bar Lourinhã seems really popular on Urbanspoon so I don’t really know where we went wrong. I think we probably made an error in treating Bar Lourinhã like a restaurant – I guess there is a hint in the name! It’s more the sort of place you go for a drink and maybe order one or two plates to share before you hit a real restaurant.
It was great catching up with friends, but I felt like a total chump paying that much for food and still leaving hungry.
Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica
Week 12: Tried the Melbourne Bike Share
Week 13: Picnic at the Carlton Gardens
Week 14: Johnston Street Fiesta
Week 15: Sydney getaway
Week 16: Helped James do a fresh install on the Vaio Z
Week 17: Tried Evernote (and loved it!)
Week 18: Rock climbing
Week 19: Baking Day with Cat, Scott and Alex
Week 20: Went to the beach (I don’t do this often. It was a Big Moment)
Week 21: Jailbroke my Kindle
Week 22: Went to Bar Lourinhã