So its a beautiful (well not quite… its cold and rainy) Saturday night and I make my way into Manly for a little dinner at a popular Manly hang-out. This place is always packed when I have walked by previously, so I thought I would check it out. I get there a bit early to snare a table. The staff are pretty friendly and don’t seem down about the weather, the place has got mood lighting and I really enjoy the chilled out atmosphere… this is a pretty cool place.
I start with a glass of the Somerville Shiraz which offers a mocha (rich coffee and chocolate) style introduction with full fruit flavours and spice, which proves to be perfect to warm-me-up for this cold winter.
The dish to kick-off the evening is the Steak Tartare with confit egg yolk, horseradish, shiso, potato. The dish really mixes tradition with creativity. The soft jelly-like flavoursome tartare is mixed with creaminess of the confit egg yolk (creativity at its best) and finished with crunchy (love the overlay of textures) salt and vinegar crisps. The crisps add a tang to what is otherwise a rich classic dish. A classic dish with creative tweak… an lovely starter.
The next course is a winter favourite – Braised lamb shoulder with Moroccan Flavours. It’s a tender lamb shoulder on a bed of chickpeas with a fragrant mix of a sticky paste, which is apricots, dates and other Moroccan herbs and spices. It’s an exotic, flavoursome dish with the winter comfort factor! The lamb is so tender, succulent and has that fall apart texture and is oozing with fresh juices which makes you almost forget about the winter weather. The sweet paste of dates and apricots just cut through the lamb juices to provide a unique dining experience.
I switch to a light Sticks Pinot Noir which goes perfectly with the lamb with a light cherry flavour and gentle hints of cinnamon which pairs nicely with the Moroccan theme.
The cheese board is basic, a couple of pieces of Brie and a Blue Stilton. The creamy rich brie is beautiful while the shaved pear adds the stony grainy melt in your mouth taste to offer a different texture to the dining experience. The Blue Stilton is rich, crumbly and has a salt kick from the blue mould.
To close its the Mojo Shiraz, which has a rich full bodied fruit flavour of plums, light hints of blackberries, some mint and chocolate hints which makes this the perfect wine for dessert and it does pair nicely with the cheese plate. A perfect way to end the night.
I finish up and head back towards the wharf, but before I head home, I enjoy a lovely cocktail at Hugos… it’s called the Bananaramma.