You know that feeling when you walk into a place that’s virtually empty, and you get a sneaking suspicion that lunch is going to be forgettable. Or regrettable. Or maybe both. Funny how instinct is often an unerring predictor.
Frau K, JS, The Prof and I met up for lunch that we’d pre-paid for with Groupons. Two courses for $27. Good old Groupons. Love ’em most of the time, but occasionally they give you a bum steer. The menu above is especially for Groupon groupies. Not much of a choice, but hopefully we could find something we fancied. My instinct jarred again when I saw haloumi on the menu. Panko crumbed haloumi. Haloumi is on my list of favourite foods; right up there with Porcini mushrooms and rosti. Call me mad, but why would you want to crumb haloumi? I can think of a dozen reasons why you wouldn’t, but obviously the chef hadn’t.
We all played it as safe as possible and ordered the marinated prawn skewers. These prawns had been dead a while and I was a bit anxious about eating them. They didn’t smell like ammonia so I figured even though they weren’t super fresh, they wouldn’t kill me. They didn’t. They were served with green salad leaves and a thousand island sauce. Not much else to say except that this dish was what I’d expect from my local chippie. Except their prawns would probably be fresher.
The mains provided a few more choices, and The Prof and I ordered the fish and chips. They were offered either battered or panko crumbed. Must have been a sale on panko crumbs at the supermarket that week. We asked for the fish to be grilled, and that was no problem. The pink snapper wasn’t the worst fish I have eaten, but then that’s hardly a yardstick for restaurant food is it? I suspect the fish had been frozen, and there was no evidence of that nice, smokey grilled flavour, but it was at least palatable. And the chips were crunchy and fresh. They got that right.
JS opted for the Moroccan lamb shank with Israeli couscous and juicy vegetables. Looks pretty doesn’t it? JS doesn’t complain much, but her silence spoke volumes. As did her leaving a good portion of the lamb shank on her plate. I recently cooked lamb shanks for my sons. The meat was falling off the bones after a night of slow cooking. This lamb was firm. This meat was well and truly stuck to the bone and had no intention of sliding off onto that bed of insipid couscous without a tool kit to assist. Let’s not talk about the sauce.
Frau K’s slow roasted pork belly had a strange effect on her. She took one bite and said “I can’t eat this”. She took her plate up to the counter and spoke to the waiter. I might add that our waiter was charming and affable and is probably used to dealing with dissatisfied customers. The youngish chef emerged from Hell’s Kitchen and entered into the conversation. Frau K, not wanting to hurt his feelings, gave him some gentle tips about how the pork should be cooked. He was apologetic and was keen to take the tips on board. Hopefully the next customer will benefit from that bit of knowledge, as Frau K is a fine cook. In fact, she gave me some foolproof advice about cooking the lamb shanks.
So, the substitute for Frau K’s pork belly was the butter chicken. She should have known better. Why oh why would you order butter kitchen in a non-Indian restaurant? I guess her options were limited at this point, and she thought this would be cooked already and she wouldn’t have to wait. She was right about it being cooked already and not having to wait. It was duly served by our lovely waiter within a few minutes. Who could quibble about the presentation? The tiny pieces of chicken however, wallowed in a sauce that reeked of bottle. Of bottled simmered sauce. I had to try a mouthful naturally, and all I could say was “oh wow”. “Oh wow” being the descriptor of something so offensive to seasoned taste buds, that it was kind of unbelievable.
The lovely waiter offered us all free coffees. The coffees were good. He has his work cut out for him, and he knows how to manage it well. This venue is located at the front of the Broadwater Apartments complex. It’s a sunny location with glimpses of the Swan River across the freeway. Sadly, that’s the only positive I can come up with. There’s no love in this eatery. It exists primarily as a facility for the Broadwater patrons, and no doubt has a captive audience much of the time which is just as well, as I doubt any of the Groupon users would be hankering to return.