Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bar Lourinha and 1809

It's interesting to think that it's probably been about two years since I've been to Bar Lourinha, yet it's always a name I tend to spew on to other people as a dinner suggestion. However, the previous 3 times I had been (even if they were years ago) were always enjoyable for me.

But I suppose you have to keep your database up to date no?

Brad and I had tried to get into Bar Lourinha on a Thursday night at about 8pm a few weeks ago.

Didn't work out very well.

So we thought, Tuesday night, we can get down there earlier, surely we can get a spot.

Even at 6:10pm, Bar Lourinha was bustling and a lot of the table space was taken up. Fortunately, whilst we were standing at the door uhm-ing and ah-ing (or maybe that was just me) at whether we should let them put us in one spot and be asked to leave in about an hour, a couple left from the bar, giving us a great little seat where all the action was.

Clever, clever, clever me forgot my camera. Not just the memory card this time, the WHOLE CAMERA. Cleverly I had taken my battery out and put my camera down to charge and very clevery and promptly forgotten it on my way out the door. Sigh. Sorry folks you'll just have to deal with my iPhone photography.

I've always liked the decor in Bar Lourinha, it's funky yet charming at the same time. There's always something new to be spied up on the walls, or if you're an alcoholic like me (I joke), plenty of interesting bottles to look at over the bar.

I do find it random that a Spanish tapas bar does Kirin on tap. Hmmm.

The stolen town bike cocktail, is one of Bar Lourinha's signature drinks and I have always enjoyed it. A refreshing and sweet mix of frangelico, gin, rose water and something else or two. I think they put a little too much rose water in this time though, it came across a little sweeter than I like.

We started off with the grilled eggplant with pomegranate and labneh. Considering it says 'grilled' on the menu I think I would've appreciated it if the dish came out hot or warm at the least. Not to mention the thing was drowned in coriander. The pomegranate and labneh saved the dish, but it's probably not something I would recommend nor have again.

Spiced chickpeas and spinach. Now we were getting somewhere, this dish was lovely and warm with some great flavours.

After three quarters of my cocktail my iPhone hand wasn't as steady anymore unfortunately.

This was the spiced chicken and black eye pea hot pot, which was the star of the night. This came out piping hot, with rich, hearty flavours. The chicken was extremely tasty and had a great texture. I could easily just have had this dish all to myself, but since Brad was there I suppose I have to share.

Bar Lourinha for me is still a place I do enjoy being in, there's a fun and interesting vibe and the food is good, except for a few little misses. I'm kind of surprised in the recent reviews I had been reading when people said that the service was appalling, as I found the waiter was quite accommodating of us when we first came in and whilst they were busy, service was never cold.

Since we had had an early dinner, we weren't quite ready to call it a night and decided to pop into 1806.

The decor of this place is just gorgeous, just look at that spirits wall! I didn't even realise there was an upstairs until we started heading out, making the place a fair bit bigger than I thought it was.

Although I wouldn't have minded if the lights were dimmed just a wee bit more.

Whilst normally I just like to have a gin and tonic (although I'm picky with my gin) I decided I'd try something different on the menu, after all, these guys are supposed to be amazing at them. I can't quite remember what it's called but it was Sapphire something, with gin, vanilla, strawberry and lillet (I think).

Really too sweet for me, although I did down it all so it wasn't horrible, but certainly not what I was expecting.

The Millers gin and tonic Brad had though was amazing and I really enjoyed the short conversation we had with the bartender about what gin they would recommend, it's a delight to be able to be advised by someone who knows what they're doing!

Bar Lourinha
37 Little Collins St
9663 7890

Bar Lourinhã on Urbanspoon

169 Exhibition Street
Melbourne 3000
9663 7722

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