Please note this restaurant has now closed and has been replaced by BangPop.
Coffee: Coffee Head
Warning: This is not your typical brunch review. Lego was also involved in the making of this blog.
It would seem that in today’s day and age we are sharing more than ever. With thoughts, feelings, relationship statuses and even job changes all available via our social networking sites, there is a good chance when you ask someone “how’s it going” or “what’s new”, you already have a good idea on the answer is going to be. One of our favorite ‘sharing experiences’ we have is with the people we care about around food. The ability to share a delicious meal with someone and have a conversation about how it tastes and their preference brings generations and cultures together. Now there is a specific restaurant in the continuously developing area of South Wharf which has built its menu around the concept of sharing – The Sharing House.
Now, we must warn you that there are no brunch foods on the menu here. This could vaguely pass as ‘unch’ (the lunch side of brunch) but there are no eggs or bacon to be found!
We walked in and were welcomed by an arty bar displaying the restaurant name. Apparently the owners spent $12,000 to buy leggo off e-bay to create it – a unique and brilliant concept!
Neither of us were very hungry when we arrived and when the waitress told us traditionally 2-3 of the small dishes per person to share would suffice, but we decided to take the prudent approach and order 2-3 in total. After all, more could always be ordered later, right? We decided on:
- Lick Pier Alcoholic Ginger Beer 660ml to share
- “Rabbit and Cauliflower Popcorn” – Confit rabbit and cauliflower, in a parmesan breadcrumb, served with roasted garlic aioli [$12]
- “Surf and Turf” – Roasted potato gnocchi with spanner crab and crispy veal sweetbreads and a brown butter jus [$15]
- “Porcini” [Pizza] – Porcini and roasted king brown mushrooms, farmhouse goats cheese and fresh lemon thyme [$13]
“Lick Pier Alcoholic Ginger Beer” 660ml [$10]
Mr LB: “I make it a point not to drink coffee when I go out for a fine dining meal. Too many times have I suffered with unfavourable coffee after have the most exquisite meal. With this in mind we decided to order a bottle of alcoholic ginger beer, which is gaining some traction around Melbourne cellars. This beverage certainly didn’t disappoint and had a truly fresh and crisp ginger taste with no strong evidence of an alcoholic flavour. A very good substitute if you’re over beer.”
Miss SL: “I wasn’t in the mood for coffee this day as we arrived late afternoon. I wasn’t in the mood for an afternoon wine and so a ginger beer seemed like the perfect option as it wasn’t too much on the alcoholic side. It was incredibly light and refreshing and was a great way to start the meal, preparing our palate for the food to come.”
“Rabbit and Cauliflower Popcorn” – Confit rabbit and cauliflower, in a parmesan breadcrumb, served with roasted garlic aioli [$12]
Mr LB :“As we negotiated on what to order, Miss SL was very persistent with the Rabbit and Cauliflower popcorn. I was equally intrigued by the concept and delivery of this dish, and so in the interest of our relationship, I conceded. What was delivered was something special and also exciting to eat. It arrived in a cute paper bag that gave the dish a casual vibe. The rabbit pieces had a nice chewy texture without being unbearable. The next piece of popcorn ended up being a cauliflower piece which had more punch and was my favourite of the two. The batter was cooked to perfection with a lovely crisp taste and the right amount of seasoning. The aioli married well with the pieces giving a well-rounded creamy texture. It was the perfect entrée item as it encouraged sharing right from the get go.
Miss SL: “First out of the kitchen was the rabbit and cauliflower popcorn. It came in a little street-food style bag and was carefully placed on the table, resting against the aioli. This dish was an unusual an unexpected delight. I really hate cauliflower and can be fussy when it comes to duck, but this dish brought out the best in both of them. The flavour of the rabbit was well-defined but not overbearing. It had a rich flavour that was softened by the crispy, perfectly deep-friend batter. The cauliflower, on the other hand, was powerful – ripping through the parmesan batter screaming “here I am!”. I felt that it washed away any remnants of the rabbit flavours previously left in my mouth. The aioli didn’t really do anything for me in this dish. Whilst it was rich and creamy I felt that it completely muted the flavours within these little “popcorn” pieces and I preferred to eat mine without it. The downside was that the dish left me feeling greasy once complete.”
“Surf and Turf” – Roasted potato gnocchi with spanner crab and crispy veal sweetbreads and a brown butter jus [$15]
Mr LB:“For me, I still haven’t worked out the true intention of a Surf and Turf dish. I see it as the dish designed for the kind of person who couldn’t decide whether to eat seafood or meat and decided to get them both. I still wanted to give this dish a go as I was curious of how it would be plated up as well, as to taste some fresh gnocchi goodness. The gnocchi didn’t disappoint, served with a brown butter sauce which certainly had the right texture and an impressive taste. I had found the crab to be well prepared – it was tender and absorbed the jus. The veal was equally impressive as it was very tender, melting in my mouth. At times it was difficult to differentiate between the two meats based on flavour, but it certainly didn’t matter as they had a consistent texture. On its own, this dish is quite heavy with the butter sauce, however breaking it up with the other dishes made it more enjoyable.”
Miss SL: “When the deconstructed surf and turf came out of the kitchen I ‘ooed’ and ‘ahhed’, despite the fact that I seemed to have been ordering all the foods I dislike (I am also not a big fan of crab). The spanner crab was meaty and just melted in my mouth. It was beautifully cooked as the pieces held together without becoming rubbery in texture. The veal was also very delicious and the flavours of the sweet jus could be tasted. The gnocchi was hand-made and pillowy in texture – light and floury. While I really enjoyed all the individual elements of this dish, I really struggled to find any cohesion. I also struggled to find any really defining flavour throughout the sauce. While Mr LB pointed out he could taste butter, all I could taste was sweet. The gnocchi pieces were definitely the star of the dish here.”
“Porcini” [Pizza] – Porcini and roasted king brown mushrooms, farmhouse goats cheese and fresh lemon thyme [$13]Mr LB:“If the image is anything go by, this pizza is a must try. Simply put, it tasted amazing and was the ideal buffer with the other heavy dishes we had ordered. The various mushrooms certainly delivered a diverse mushroom taste to the pizza and the base sauce made it delectable with every mouthful. The crust was lovely, with a light and fluffy texture but a crispy exterior.”
Miss SL: “The porcini pizza was my favourite dish out of all the mains. It was wonderful! There were different types of mushrooms cleverly used on this dish, creating beautiful woody and earthy flavours. The goats cheese was mild and creamy but it was the lemon thyme that was the real star – shining through all the flavours creating a magnificent zing that carried on the palate long after the slice was over. This pizza cleverly used seemingly simple ingredients and created something that was delicious and affordable. Next time we come here, we plan to order a couple more of these!”
“Jaffa” -Warm chocolate fondant with textures of orange [$14]
Mr LB: “There is a saying when you go out and eat half the menu of a high-end restaurant, “there is always a second stomach for dessert”. Miss SL was very keen for this dish and I was in need for something sweet, so it was quickly settled. I found this dessert to be very intense with its multiple flavours and high-end presentation. There were so many different combinations that could be made while eating this dish! The jellies were full of rich flavour and it seemed to go well with the dob of sorbet and topped with crispy mandarin. My favourite element of the dish was the chocolate fondant, with its rich chocolate and orange flavoured pudding – it was just fabulous. All the flavouring was spot on, but personally I felt a little lost as to the proper way to eat the dish. Overall, it’s a deconstructed dessert that is worth trying if your game to explore plenty of sweet tastes.”
Miss SL: “We were both really full by this point, but the whole reason I had wanted to come to The Sharing House was to have the deconstructed jaffa dessert. This dessert was a really beautiful combination of blood orange and mandarin jellies, dried mandarin and lusciously chocolatey fondant. When I split open the chocolate pudding it oozed out a rich chocolate sauce. It was perhaps a little too runny, but I absolutely loved how straight-out-of-the-oven hot it was. The sauce had a beautiful choc-orange taste to it which caught me off guard as I thought the jellies were the orange contribution to this dish. The jellies themselves were firm but not chewy, creating an unexpected texture. They were sugar-coated, leaving a sweet flavour on the palate. The dried mandarin was divine, adding a beautifully crunchy elements to this dish.”
Overall The Sharing House was a nice experience. It would have been better to come here for dinner and enjoying these meals with wine, or alternatively sticking to pizza for our ‘unch’ experience. Excellent service, beautiful location and quirky interior resulted in a lovely afternoon of indulgence.”
Final thought: “Deconstructed food is the name of the game; beautiful desserts and pizza”