34 Inkerman Street
Newmarket Hotel, there’s a real laidback LA feel about this place. The gorgeous outdoor dining area was a no go zone on this rainy day but it was warm inviting and positively buzzing within.
Newmarket is about 10 minutes away from me (I know, I have an unhealthy obsession with dropping by places close to me) and I finally decided to see for myself what it was all about. And I’m thrilled I did. I saw plenty that I loved, and I know that on hot summer days I will be chugging icy cold pitchers of cocktails & soft tacos, and on cold wintry days I will be nursing a hot mulled wine & hot oozy salted caramel over the chocolate & pear cazuela.
Rancho Cucamonga - Spiced Rum, Orange Based Digestive, Apricot Brandy, Lime Juice, Homemade Spiced Syrup & Burnt Blood Orange ($17)
For the entire array of cocktails you can hit up the pitchers ($35) or go by the glass. On the stronger side.
Soft Shell Crab Taco, Guacamole, Shaved Fennel, Spicy Corn & Tomatillo Salsa ($8.5)
The lightest batter coating, the soft shell crab was plump and juicy with a fresh guacamole fennel & sweet corn. The taco shell itself was small, but could have been lighter given the delicacy of the soft shell crab. That being said, I do love my peking duck rolls/popiahs/spring rolls absolutely bursting at the seams.
Chilaquiles with Achiote Prawns, Mussels, Fennel & Olive Marmalade ($18)
You have these fresh prawn pieces, in a mildly spicy mexican sauce, the jalapeno has a real kick with crunchy tortilla chips. The sauce is filled with olives, coriander, leeks and onions, and visually it looks heavy, but it’s really quite light and the sweetness of the prawns come through.
BBQ Corn on the Cob with Chilli & Queso Fresco ($9)
The corn is juicy, you get a kick from the chilli flakes, a little sourness from the queso fresco and there is a real sense of the bbq grill from each bite. Better than most, yet the corn still lacks that crunchy corn juice going everywhere bite you would get from making your own corn on the cob buttery fresh from the oven.
I’ll be honest with you, at this point, the starters have been pleasant enough. I do love this food, so picking things off the menu were easy enough. The flavours were all there but nothing really stood out. But the main & my dessert absolutely knocked it out of the park.
XL St Louis Style Pork Rib, Mr Wilson’s BBQ Sauce & Apple Slaw ($16 each)
Our server tells us that the house made barbecue sauce is actually North Carolina king of barbecue Ed Mitchell’s recipe, post his barbecue-off with NMH’s Paul Wilson, they asked to use his barbecue sauce as it was absolutely spot on.
Holy moly this right here is bang for your buck. Not your typical rack of ribs, this delectable jiggly generous heap of pork piled atop the daintiest row of ribs (consisting of two tiny rib bones) was pure perfection. It was so soft and luscious, with the right amount of roughness around the outside, and when you bite through it’s layers and layers of literally melt in your mouth fat and meat. And it was jiggling, just from my dining companion’s knife movements on his own plate. It’s coated in this spicy tangy barbecue sauce which is sweet tangy salty and hits all the right notes.
You have a fresh and sweet apple slaw of shredded onions carrots cabbages, with a little crumbled peanut on top of the pork for texture.
300g Wood Barbecued NY Strip with Latin Spices, Huitlacoche, Mexican Corn Truffle Mustard & Salsa Negra ($42)
The NY strip was tender enough, and the mexican corn truffle mustard was silky, fragrant with truffle & lime aromas. But the pork rib, was unbeatable.
Chocolate & Pear Cazuela with Salted Caramel ($28)
The cazuela (spanish cooking pot) is a minimum 2 person order ($14 each). You have to, you just have to. The most darling honest treat.
The golden brown top coat is almost like biting into a sticky chewy cookie, a little resistance which yields easily, much to my satisfaction to reveal an incredibly moist centre, the gentlest grainiest texture of the crumbs reinforces the smooth luxuriousness of this chocolate dessert. You have this oozy velvety honeyed salted caramel gradually rolling to all corners of the pan and a cold vanilla bean ice cream leaving a creamy trail. It’s a perfect rich mess. Nestled within are soft stewed pears and these generous chunks of rich chocolate, and slender nutty bites.
I literally had a good five mouthfuls in twenty seconds flat. I honestly could not stop myself it was that good. So go easy and savour it, it goes incredibly fast and you reach a point where you stop and you look at the empty pan, and you think to yourself - what have I done. It’s ridiculously filling but it makes for a rich and divine first mouthful. The subsequent mouthfuls are just as sensational but it gets a little hazy. It’s one of those moments where you know this will be the benchmark you will be holding your chocolate desserts to for a long time to come.
All I can say is Newmarket Hotel - you have to go for the cocktails, the pork rib and that precious cazuela. I know I will.