Thursday, January 6, 2011

Earl Canteen...in the evening!

Sandwiches for dinner? Who would dare?

EARL would!

And when you think about it, it's probably not such a bad idea, since we really should be having our heaviest meal in the morning for energy (eggs!) and our lightest meal in the evening. However, social pleasantries and the 9 to 5 working lifestyle has changed all that and we often find ourselves being quite overzealous over dinner and occasionally (or not so occasionally) being quite gluttonous.

So when EARL tweeted about trying out an evening service, I was very keen, especially since I'm even less in the city for lunch these days, and quickly made sure I could secure space for Brad and I.

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It had been over 7 months since I had first set foot into EARL Canteen, sandwich extraordinaries and beloved by many a blogger, when it was just 2 weeks old.

I honestly had not anticipated it would be this long before I would visit it again, but Melbourne being Melbourne, there are just too many options available!

I was quite surprised that it wasn't as busy as I expected it to be, but it meant that there was a very soothing and calming ambience as it rained outside, and we had the full attention of our absolutely charming and enthusiastic waiter, who sat us down with aplomb and whisked away our jackets.

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So what did EARL add to their dinner service? They had all their loved sandwiches available and added in a special 'EARL Luxe', which sounded absolutely sumptuous and included Southern rock lobster (Brad had a chuckle over a B-52 reference), Yarra Valley salmon roe and watercress (will have to try it next time...). There was also a small selection of salads, to share or be greedy with, and now that they are licenced, negroni's and a small sampling of wines.

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I was quite excited to see this on the wine menu, made by Oakridge wines in Victoria, I had visited the winery once, had a smattering of wine tastings and loved their work. The pinot grigio was just perfect and light, fruity too and so easy to drink.

Then we had the difficult part, choosing what to eat. Now that I could turn just about all the sandwiches into gluten free wraps, my choices had increased tenfold! I uhm-ed and aah-ed a lot, as usual. As did Brad. I must have been tossing up between two options for a good 15 minutes.

Then I did the the foodie girlfriend thing and made Brad get one of the two options I was looking at and got the other one for myself. A fairly diplomatic result, yes? (No?)

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Well, someone had to get it right? When we first visited, neither of us had tried the infamous crispy skin Otway pork belly baguette, but now, this has changed. Accompained with apple, cabbage and fennel coleslaw and wilted silverbeet, there is pretty much nothing to not like about this (Except that the plates weren't warm this time. Small niggle). Beautiful baguette, and absolutely delicious pork which was complimented with by the sweet apple. Just look at that pork! With skin that was just oh-so crispy yet the meat oh-so juicy! Mmmmmmmm.

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I ordered the '12 hour lamb'. Slow cooked lamb, honeyed carrots, gremolata and obviously, a gluten free wrap instead of a baguette. Can't really see much there can you? Hang on let me give you a better view...

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...albeit it a slightly demolished view. I was in love with this, the lamb was so sweet and so tender. I purred away happily while eating, even the carrots were absolutely delicious, and I've never gone gaga over carrots before. These however, were just so caramelized and soft, I was half convinced they weren't carrots and were instead sweet potatoes. Couldn't get enough of this.

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We weren't initially going to order a salad, but it's hard to not be swayed by an enthusiastic waiter. So on a spur, without really consulting Brad's opinion either, I ordered this. I forgot the name. Sorry guys. It's essentially EARL's version of a caprese salad, with a few varieties of beautiful, fresh, juicy, sweet...oh I could go on, the tomatoes were just gorgeous, with a scattering of basil leaves and fior di latte. Perfectly refreshing and light. I really can't fault caprese-esque salads.

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A trip to EARL is never complete without a macaron. Yes, the macaron craze is taking over and there are macarons in every corner of the city, but after having the ones at EARL (I can't remember who they're stocked by now...), they still easily remain as some of the best.

We got the pistachio and chocolate, two standard flavours which I adore and hearing that they just got the new bailey one's in, one of those too please.

Oh my goodness. The texture was so light, the flavours just gorgeous. Especially the Bailey's one. Especially so. It was pretty much like eating the drink. Bit of a mind bender there, but it was easily my favourite flavour of the night.

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There's a happy macaron eater!

Kind of wanted to buy 20 back home to snack on later. But refrained. This time.

Sandwiches for dinner? Works a treat in my opinion and it's really not that light of a meal as you may think, especially if you throw in a bottle of wine and macarons....but the overall dining experience was just so pleasant and relaxed. I do hope they keep this up when they reopen for 2011, even if it is just the occasional Friday night, I would absolutely be down for it!

500 Bourke Street (enter via Lt Bourke)
Melbourne, 3000

EARL Canteen on Urbanspoon




8 comments:

  1. Hi
    Are you hooked on macaron`s as well?
    They are soo jummy, and I am in love:)

    Have a great day

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  2. A reminder to head back to Earl when they are opened again soon... :)

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  3. Girl - Yes! I'm absolutely crazy about macarons, it probably helps I'm a massive sweet tooth ;)

    Penny - Absolutely! :) Need more bailey's macarons....

    Allan - Hahaha! If they exist, a meal is never complete without them...;)

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  4. Your post makes me want to make macarons!

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  5. The lobster sandwich was pretty good, although a little expensive I thought but heck, it is lobster afterall. :) I was there too for dinner, not bad like you said, although if the weather was a bit better (ie. not as cold), sandwiches for dinner would have been even more enticing. Will definitely go back again for it!

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  6. Quay - My mum tried the other day, but they didn't come out because it's too darn humid right now!

    Akika - Ah, see I'm a cold weather person, so it honestly suited me perfectly ;) I really am keen to try that sandwich myself sometime but am a little bit frightened of the price!

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