Basement of 176 Little Lonsdale Street
I’ve heard plenty of good things about the Moat, first suggested by one of my readers (Hello Kevin!) quite some time back but never finding the time to drop by. Tucked to the side of the State Library, quaint with its shelves of books & flickering candles, yet cosy and inviting. It came to mind as the perfect spot for a late night celebratory dinner.
potted prawns - clarified butter, shaved fennel, lemon zest & spices ($15)
The potted prawns were everything they should be - the last time I had potted prawns at The European, it wasn’t quite what I had hoped for. Here the clarified butter was this fragrant golden liquid, having soaked up all the flavours of the fennel prawn spices. Buried beneath little bites of soft fennel were long juicy slices of prawn, the entire length intact.
canadian scallop kebab wrapped in pancetta on apple purée with black fermented garlic ($16)
Sweet scallops with chewy fatty pancetta, with tangy apple sauce.
white marinated anchovies, smoked cherry tomatoes, candied olives, toasted almonds & micro herb salad ($17)
The last of our smaller plates, the briny white anchovies went perfectly with our bottle of Argentinian Torrontés - it was brighter and brought out the sugars in the wine.
parwan goat curry with flat bread ($30)
Less of a curry, and more of a broth - I have a fairly salty palate and even then I thought this was really pushing it. The goat had more bounce than the lamb, tiptoeing on the line of being a little tough. With mint parsley & chilli.
braised lamb, roasted garlic labna, quinoa salad ($30)
Inviting with the bowls of various components and folds of flat bread to assemble it yourself, the braise was quite soft but dry on its own, more forgiving as a whole with the sweet onion & crunchy cucumber in the vibrant quinoa salad and a little of the labna quenelle with soft flatbread.
moat made meatballs in a rich napoli sauce, grana padano ($18)
Bouncy and juicy, with a rich warming napoli sauce. After we finished soaking the crunchy bread in the clarified butter from the potted prawns, we found ourselves tearing hunks off the crusty bread to go with the napoli.
sicilian eggplant stew with toasted almonds, oregano aioli ($16)
As fond as I am of eggplant, this was slightly sweet, and we weren’t entirely sure or convinced about the flavour profile of the stew.
Having had a sneak peek of the desserts when the table next to ours were presented with a gorgeous dessert tasting plate (pre-ordering essential), I was all too ready to move to the sweets.
little custard pot trio ($13)
The most divine little trio. I broke the cardinal rule of no external light source but I wanted to capture the vivid colour of the custards. Each was cool smooth and silky, yet wonderfully distinct and true in its flavour. The chocolate chai had a beautiful underlying spiciness, the balsamic pear was satisfying and comforting with flavours of a pear tart. And the pistachio was almost lighter compared to the richness of the former two, with red raspberries within.
valrhona chocolate & earl grey tea tart with lemon curd shot ($14)
The tart was exquisite. Rich & velvety, accompanied by a tangy yet equally rich lemon curd to cut through the chocolate, hidden by orange blossom persian fairy floss, hand-made in Iran. The lemon and the orange blossom gave the tart another element.
All about sharing, from the small plates to the bigger plates, as well as the desserts. You can’t go wrong with sharing a bottle or two either. The smaller plates & the desserts were the highlights of the night. I was slightly disheartened by the larger plates on the night, but The Moat’s one I’ll keep in mind, particularly given as it’s open till late (we would know, we were the last to leave).