The welcome was warm and friendly and the menu choices enticing. The decor of the place hasn't changed from Little Hunter days. It's basement buzzy with seats at the bar, large communal table, booths, tables, open kitchen so lots of variety and an uplifting vibe. Not overly loud which is good but loud enough to create some good dynamics.
I loved my Southern lemonade spiked with 666 vodka served in a Friday night worthy large glass jar. Sharp, sweet, tart, refreshing and then with that alcoholic bite at the tail end to erase the toil of the working week and celebrate the arrival of the weekend!
Crispy skin baby snapper, charred cauliflower, green bean salad
Gippsland pasture-fed beef short rib
Mac and cheese
We deliberated between the 20-hour Rangers Valley Wagyu brisket with Tasmanian pepper berry rub and the short rib for a while but decided to go short rib and then experience the brisket through a smaller sized portion of the burnt ends. The waitress did suggest having both but I think they'd be too similar to have both in the one meal.
The baby snapper was delicious and I loved the vegetable accompaniments which were a lot more refined and complex than the menu description. There was a creamy cauliflower puree, the charred cauliflower and green beans and some lightly pickled rings of onion and salad leaves. The sweetness of the fish and cauliflower were complimented by the tang of the pickles and the clean flavours of the salad and green beans.
The short rib was meaty and dense still succulent but definitely rich and heavy. In all honesty, I don't think I'm a fan of the long, smoked BBQ meat - something to do with texture hence not a huge brisket and pulled meats fan. I think I prefer grilled meat cooked quickly but Steve likes the slowcooked stuff and I don't mind it.
The burnt ends were too dry and hard for me even thought it was smothered in BBQ sauce. But Steve enjoyed it and there was a lot of it. I remember having it in a bun at the Royal Croquet Club in the Summer and it was less dry then.
Our side dishes of the slaw and mac and cheese were tasty. The slaw was fresh and zingy and the creamy dressing kept light and not over rich. Similarly the mac and cheese retained it's sauciness but wasn't overly heavy. I think this shows enough care by the chef that these are side dishes to compliment the main dishes so really they do need to be lighter and I like this attention to detail. So often at restaurants, side dishes are delicious but they're just has rich, creamy or heavy so when accompanied by other strong dishes it becomes a marathon of a meal.
Not that this wasn't a heavy meal. Meat and carbs and fish and veggies - well balanced maybe, satisfying definitely!