Cnr Montague St and Dundas Pl
Ph: (03) 9690 5459
After seeing so many tweets about the Albert Park Hotel in the past year or so, a short trip to Melbourne saw me there for my first meal, lunch. As became a common theme during this trip, I chose to go with a selection of small items to share from their “Asian street food” and “Latin street food” sections.
First to arrive was the Balmain bug laksa with lime leaves ($16).
This took the three of us by surprise because of its size, and because this interpretation did not contain any noodles. I took a sip of this, just to taste. It was rich, the flavours dense and aromatic, the lime packing a wonderfully pronounced (but not overly strong) punch. It was a great soup, the bug was fresh, juicy and sweet. The problem being, is a laksa still a laksa without noodles? We had expected there to be some, and wish that there had been.
Next up were the Korean fried soft shell crabs with seaweed and sesame mayonnaise ($15). Presented like a salad, nicely crunchy crabs were mixed with a variety of vegetables, the mayonnaise quite subtle. The unexpected accompanying salad cut through some of the richness of the fried components.
The lobster tacos “surf & turf” with guacamole, crispy pork & grilled pineapple salsa ($18) wasn’t my choice – the meat and fruit combination (with added mango) isn’t one of my preferred taste combinations, but I admit that I was pleasantly surprised, as I enjoyed the sweetness of the lobster combined with the slight stickiness of the pork more than I had envisaged that I would, and the pineapple salsa did not overwhelm the filling. As with the other two dishes, these aren’t particularly large servings.
One of our party wanted chorizo, so chorizo we ordered. A single chorizo, split in half and grilled, came with jalapenos and a chilli sauce with a nice kick to it, but which was still mild enough for broader appeal.
As a side, we ordered triple cooked chips with bravas sauce ($9), which was basically patate bravas, but with the potatoes cooked as chips. Excellent chips, and an addictive sauce.
This is a lovely space for a meal, the service was welcoming and friendly and the staff were happy to give advice as to how much to order etc, but despite enjoying the food, we left thinking that for some of the dishes, the serving sizes had been a little bit smaller than we had expected.