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merivale winter feasts: lotus

July 20, 2009

I called them up at 6:35pm, just to be sure. “Hello… where are you both?” I ask, cautiously, not wanting to seem like I was rushing them. “We are… somewhere!” came the reply. And then a flurry of words: “She knows where she’s going.” “No I don’t!” “Yes she does! We’re on Castlereagh Street. Is that close? Are you on Castlereagh Street?” “Hey, I know where we are!” “We’ll be there soon! See youuuuu” I hang up and within minutes, am leaping into the car to a chorus of “Hello!” “You’re in charge of directions now. Where do we go?” and ” Hey, your shirt is in the bag”.the table: wine glasses, salt, pepper & torch

It was a dinner for three tonight. My mother, my “aunty” (A. F.) & I. We hooned up to Challis Street, circled, found a park and then wandered up to Lotus. “I’ve been here before” says A.F. “well, I’ve been to the bar before. It’s a good bar.”

We are initially seated outside under a blazing outdoor heater, but, upon spotting my camera are offered an inside table, which, fortuitously, also happens to be a slightly bigger table. “For better lighting”. Why thankyou!

The lighting, however, remains quite dim. So much so that when my mum jokes about needing a torch, one is swiftly provided. The lighting does, however, mean that many of my photos turned out quite, quite unusable – which is a pity as the food was so beautifully plated.

tuna tartare - with compliments from the chef

tuna tartare – with compliments from the chef

My mother is here for a catchup with A.F. who, in turn, is here to celebrate my mother’s 50th. I am here because I wanted to eat at Lotus, and what better reason to than the Merivale’s Winterfeasts promotion. At two courses + a glass of wine or beer for $35 or three with the same for $39, I was more than ready to see what was on offer.

The menus are brought out quickly and we make our selection by the ambient glow of torchlight. Glasses of wine are poured, and a dish arrives at our table. No, it isn’t the soup or the calamari, but a “tuna tartare, from the chef”. Sweet tuna, bitter microherbs and the slight tang of wasabi make for a delicious mouthful (and so a quick thank you tweet is shot off to @Dan_Hong).

entrees - L: salad of calamari, mint, cucumber and coriander R:butternut pumpkin and parmesan soup

entrees – L: salad of calamari, mint, cucumber and coriander R:butternut pumpkin and parmesan soup

There are three of us, and three choices on the menu, but the ladies want calamari salad and so that is what they will have. I manage to get a taste of the salad and it has a lovely light sweetness. The calamari is cool and tender and the mint gives it that little extra zing.

But it is my soup that is the star entree. The butternut pumpkin and parmesan flavours are rounded and well pronounced. But it is the accompaniments that steal the show. A generous handful of thyme breadcrumbs and a perfectly oozy poached free range egg are dumped in the bowl for a lovely textural addition - and this is without even mentioning the rich flavours they impart.

Apparently the soup is our server’s favourite entree too, and he insists on bringing two little demitasse cups of it out for the ladies to have – “So you can try it” he says “because you aren’t going to want to share yours.” And I am glad, because he is oh-so-right.

 

pan-fried fish of the day, celeriac mash, vanilla & herb butter

pan-fried fish of the day, celeriac mash, vanilla & herb butter

 

The ladies are on a light, fresh food roll and stick to the seafood for their mains. This time I manage to sample two mouthfuls (one from each plate) and notice how lovely and buttery the fish is. It flakes, it is moist, and it is well seasoned.

angus rump steak, crushed peas, red wine sauce

angus rump steak, crushed peas, red wine sauce

Again, I manage to have scored something spectacular with my angus rump steak. I did think of getting the pork belly, but really, when five slices of perfectly medium-rare steak appear in front of you atop a pile of crushed peas and doused in a rich red wine sauce, all thoughts of pork fly from your memory. It was tender. It was rich. And I? Well I was in haemoglobin heaven.

chocolate terrine with butterscotch sauce & cream

chocolate terrine with butterscotch sauce & cream

“Will we be doing the three courses?” we are asked. “Why d’you think we didn’t finish our mains?” replies A.F. (which is only part true… we finished all the protein, it was just a couple of mouthfuls of carb that were left lingering). A perusal, a toss up, a scoffing. “I don’t want any of these!” declares A.F. “Where’s something in between the granita and the terrine? I don’t want a cold dessert… but I don’t want a heavy one either.” We nod in agreement, then decide to order three serves of the chocolate terrine anyway.

It is the butterscotch sauce that saves it. Because in bistro-speak, terrine translates as cake, and cream is, well cream. But when eaten in a sticky mouthful with a drag of salty, viscous butterscotch sauce? It is a lovely end to the meal.

There is a tussle over the bill and then we head off into the distance. “I’ve gotta come back here” says A.F. “I think my friends will like it.” I agree.

Lotus
22 Challis Street
Potts Point NSW

For more merivale winterfeasts news – check this site out: http://www.merivalewinterfeasts.com/

[psst! onebitemore is flyin’ about Asia at the moment, so please bear with me if I don’t get around to replying to your comments straight away. much love!]


  • #1
    July 20th, 2009

    happy birthday! when are you heading back?

    bitten.

  • #2
    July 20th, 2009

    Your photos turned out great, considering the terribly dim lighting in there! I had the same things as you, I wasn’t impressed with the mains, but the choc dessert and the soup were pretty great!

  • #3
    July 20th, 2009

    food looks really good.

  • #4
    July 21st, 2009

    HHAPPYY BDDAYYYYY RRAARR!! Come bak so we can celebrate llahhh!

    Hee hee you guys are hoons 😛 and I really should try Lotus too mmmmmm

  • #5
    July 21st, 2009

    your pics still turned out great! love the new layout nad have fun in asia! =]

  • #6
    July 22nd, 2009

    @danny: Thanks buddy 🙂 Will be back on Monday afternoon and back in to work on Tuesday. I do believe you owe us a catchup dinner? *chomp*

    @Betty: Oh salted caramel and cheesy soupy love! It was so so dim, but I really did appreciate what I got to eat for the money that was paid. Might head to a couple more of them before it’s all done…

    @Simon: Mmm yes. Plated beautifully, and no complaints about the execution either.

    @FFichiban: Be back soon!! And hoorah for celebrations! Definitely nothing more hoony than dinnering with two aunties 😉

    @K: Many thanks 🙂 Am doing… and will keep doing!

Shez