Noble Savage (he said)
Ah, Restaurant Week! When most of my disposable income disappears, and my clothes mysteriously shrink in the wash. The Autumn 2017 edition had a few favourites, mixed in with a couple of newcomers to keep things interesting. So let’s jump in…
1st stop: EB Social Kitchen & Bar
I’m not sure if this was EB’s first foray into Restaurant Week. We’ve been there before for a drink, and wanted to go back to try some of their food, so this was the perfect opportunity. To those of you that don’t know, EB is located inside the massive Exclusive Books in the Hyde Park shopping centre.
The influence of the restaurant/bar is books and libraries, and one gets the feeling of being in a movie version of a social club.
During Restaurant Week, some restaurants decide not to publish their menu on the website, opting to rather surprise their guests. EB chose the surprise option, and holy shit, did they deliver. Normally the Restaurant Week lunch is two courses of either starter, main, or dessert. Chef Russell Armstrong decided a tasting menu would better introduce the uninitiated to all that can be offered by EB.
As you can see, the plates were beautiful. Almost too beautiful to eat. Almost… We started off with olive doughnut balls. Basically, an olive stuffed with cream cheese, stuffed into a ball of dough, deep fried, and sprinkled with parmesan. Definitely a recipe I will “borrow” in the near future.
Next up was a plate of salmon and scallops. At the time of writing, this one was actually a finalist for the most beautiful plate. And you can see why. Just some pure, natural flavours, presented in the most stunning way. (By this way, this was our entry for the #BestDish competion as well – and it made the Top 10 final!)
This was served with a roast corn, artichoke, and cracked wheat salad. With hints of chilli, coriander, and peanuts, this complemented the fresh seafood very well.
This was followed by their take on a Thai salad: slow roasted spicy pork belly covered with fresh greens. The spiciness of the pork belly is nicely neutralised by the fat – this one was probably my favourite of the day (which is quite a feat, as everything was pretty fucking great). Next we had sea bass and asparagus covered in a champagne cream sauce. And it was as incredible as it sounds.
Finally, it was time for dessert. I don’t usually bother with sweet desserts, as I lost my sweet tooth at a festival in Clarens during 2001’s Easter weekend. This one was very well balanced, and not too sweet – blue cheese panna cotta, dark chocolate mousse, lemon curd, and a pavlova. So a nice range of flavours to balance out the incredible range of courses we had.
I don’t know exactly what I was expecting for lunch, but was well and truly blown away. EB is not just some coffee joint in a book shop; it’s an inspiring adventure every food lover should experience.