Monday, August 10, 2009

Council House 2 (Bar)

Address: 1/240 Little Collins St, Melbourne CBD VIC
Tel: (03) 9639 7778

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am till late, Sat 9:30am till late

Council House 2 is neatly tucked away bar serving small meals in the heart of Melbourne CBD.

On this occasion I went there with a bunch of work colleagues for an early 5:30pm dinner (have become a convert of early weeknight dinners where you can actually get service), and we shared a few of their 'small dishes' - equivalent to your Spanish version of Tapas.

Below: Veal croquettes with house mustard - this was my favourite of them all - tender, shredded flakes of veal complimented with a wasabi-esque mustard in a golden melt-in-your-mouth batter.

Below: House bread with dips - softly baked Turkish bread lightly drizzled in oil with an assortment of eggplant, pumpkin & spinach/yoghurt dip. These dips tasted quite organic with subtle flavours, the eggplant with a strong bitter flavour (I think they left skin on), pumpkin was quite sweet and reminiscent of sweet potato, yoghurt & spinach was quite different with slivers of spinach floating in a light yoghurty sauce.

Above: Cauliflower fritters with cinnamon? - Can't say I could really taste the cinnamon, but the cauliflower was fresh and cooked to a perfect firm, steamed texture (even though it was covered in batter & fried).

Below: Salt & Pepper Calamari with Green Harissa - calamari was fried in a dark bread crumb, nothing too out of the ordinary and definitely better with more lemon juice to bring out the flavours, green harissa nothing but a fancier word for pesto which I believed to be a bit too strong & heavy to compliment the calamari.

Below: Pork belly with apple cider & Salsa verde - Pork belly was the greatly anticipated dish for the evening as it was recommended to us. Perfect texture - soft, and reminiscent of the meat of a Chinese BBQ suckling pig - more meat than fat which means you can saviour every last morsel. Truly believe the 'green harissa' and 'salsa verde' is the same thing, except it complimented the pork a lot better than it did the calamari.

Above: Chicken Bisteeya with pickled carrot - this is a samosa-esque pastry with a tender savoury chicken filling. Pastry is inbetween a puff pastry & fried item with a crunchy & crispy texture. Pickled carrot is more like a garnish, but gives the dish a tangy, sour twist.

Below: Crushed potato, Buxton caviar & crab - a fluffy, nice fusion of textures, potato which is semi-mashed and partly chopped. Fishy smell & taste which I was slightly deterred by, and I always prefer a sweeter crabmeat taste which this seems to lack.

All in all, a very nice inner city cosy bar/restaurant. I really enjoyed the relaxed vibe there, but it was also a Monday night at 5:30pm so not many other people in the building so the wait staff were friendly & attentive. Great for a meal that's not really a meal!