Although Brad lives out in Glen Waverley, we're often not out that way these days, since the university he's doing his PhD is close to my place, which is close to the city, where generally most of our socialising activity happens.
However a couple of weekends ago, we were going to spend a weekend out at his, since we had a friend's engagement party to go to around there. Which is wonderful let me say, but it's also kind of weird seeing friends get engaged and married off, especially since I'm so far away from taking that next big life step…or something like that.
Anyway, so it completely surprised me when Brad then suggested that we get dinner The Black Toro beforehand, somewhere I had been harping on about for ages, lusting over their famous deconstructed peanut butter cheesecake. I mean…Brad…make a suggestion? What is this?!
So it was with glee that I called them up and made the booking for a rather frosty Saturday night. My toes snap froze walking from the car to the restaurant!
Thankfully The Black Toro was a cosy little reprieve from the cold, where I sneakily snuck my toes out of my heels so that I could thaw them out (sshh, don't tell them)!
I loved the colourful mural, it's neat and tidy fit out, dark tables and black napkins (they look so much neater than white ones!) against the white walls…also, finally! A restaurant that's not afraid of their electricity bill, there's light!
The Black Toro is a surprising little addition to Kingsway in Glen Waverley, a little bit of Latin America in an ocean of Asian cuisine.
From the 'Poco Plates' selection, we started with crispy soft shell crab with buttermilk dressing and sriracha. Whilst the batter was a bit on the soft side and not really 'crispy' there was certainly a little crunch there, which was nice for a bit of texture and on a whole these were quite tasty. Honestly, it's a little hard to go too wrong with soft shell crab or sriarcha (if you ask me anyway!). Mmm, spicy!
Spicy pulled pork taco's with shredded cabbage and sour cream were a treat on the eye, with bright colours and lively garnishes, which translated to the palate in bright and zesty flavours. Loved the purple cabbage for a bit of crunch too! With the generous mounds of pulled pork, it was a slightly messy, but delicious affair!
The quesadilla with frijoles, smoked bacon and melted cheese came out lovely piping hot, crowned with a piece of crackling on each slice. The crackling? Mmmhmm. Perfectly crisp, light, like chicharron from the Philippines. And honestly, how can melted cheese go wrong? Really? My only wish is that this was a corn tortilla quesadilla, but my bad for not checking really.
For our mains, we went with the spicy video soap seca with roasted zucchini, black beans, salsa fresco and queso fresco. From the summary on the menu, we figured this was essentially a mexican noodle casserole.
This quite surprised me, with it's big flavours, it was quite spicy and peppery, but light as well. I hadn't really had anything like it (although I guess I haven't really had that much Mexican food either) and loved the great big dollops of queso fresco, which was a very creamy in texture but light on the palate cheese. Between the two of us, after all our little entrees, this was quite a feed!
I also could not resist ordering the triple cooked chips with paprika salt and garlic aioli, after our stint in the states…I was having potato withdrawals! I was a bit disappointed though that these weren't super duper crispy, as that's what I generally expect when the term triple cooked is thrown about. They did have the skin on them though, which added to the flavour and the garlic aioli was absolutely to die for.
As the waiter came over to clear our plates, I didn't even need to get the menu back to know what I wanted to order for dessert. This must be a common occurrence, as the waiter smiled knowingly when I asked if I could order dessert already.
It was time.
Time for a deconstructed peanut butter cheesecake with chocolate ice cream and honeycomb. Oh gym gods, I have sinned. Sinned so bad.
The chocolate ice-cream was dense with a lovely and full dark chocolate flavour, it seemed softer and creamier than ice-cream even, I would have said it was like a mousse. Surprisingly, it was lighter than it's peanut butter counterpart which hit you hard. Real hard. But it was good. A thick rich glob of creamy peanut butter that you just had to slowly roll around your mouth, one because that's the best way to enjoy it, and two, because it's so darned dense, good luck to you to get it down any faster!
The honeycomb gave a nice crunch, and gave a bit of lightness. I really couldn't imagine ordering one dessert each…Brad and I just managed to get it down between the two of us!
Whilst I have seen reviews that have said service has been a bit slow at the Black Toro, on this particular night, I didn't notice so much of that, but maybe because we were in the 6pm seating and they needed to make sure they got us out by 8:15? Drinks and food were all brought out quite promptly, and staff were efficient, but also quite friendly, it felt naturally speedy rather than rushed.
Brad and I thoroughly enjoyed our meal at The Black Toro and left with comfortably warm bellies, at a price I thought was quite reasonable. For all the food above, plus a drink each, it all came to under $100. Maybe if we had chosen a meaty main it would have been a bit more, but looking at the chicken on the table next to us…well…I was glad we hadn't. It was huge!
The Black Toro is a little, but welcome surprise and I'm sure if I was actually a local I would have popped by much earlier…and returned many more times….after all that frozen nutella parfait dessert with broken tres leches cake is surely calling my name….
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