Reviewed by Regina Su
Creme Brulee Martini
Apple Liquorice Gin Sour
Beetroot cured Salmon with pickled vegetables
Double Cooked Pork Belly With Baby Granny Smith Apple Puree, Apple Chip And Calvados Apple Served With Grilled Canadian Scallop With House Made Vegetable Chips
Chargrilled Haloumi With Shallow Fried Tofu And Grilled Vegetable Sugo
Zucchini Fries With Zatar & Crunchy Garlic Aioli
Dark Chocolate Fondant with Double Cream
Lodge Aussie Mess; Lemon Lime curd with lime meringue, lime jelly and mixed summer fruits.
As you approach Lodge Tapas, you’ll see alfresco seating, and people lounged there, overlooking the flow of the arcade. The relaxed atmosphere is in stark contrast to such a bustling location- I went there for dinner, but I could definitely envisage this venue abuzz around happy hour, or with the brunch crowd. Yet, Lodge Tapas runs at a slower pace, and sets you at ease with it’s open seating and welcoming staff. The hospitality is warm and friendly, personable but not too intrusive. The staff seem very passionate about the restaurant.
Lodge Tapas has such an interesting balance, as it caters to every need. There is a glow of sophistication and elegance, in the restaurant and the menu, but at the same time it’s very family friendly. Offering ‘kids eat free’ deals, this place is so accommodating to the whole unit. It’s hard these days to find that balance- a place that will suit the kids, a place that will suit the adults. This venue really knows its clientele. There are breakfast options, light lunches and after school deals. But at night, the Lodge pulses with an undeniable vibrance. While quite relaxed, the restaurant feels very awake.
Dinner at Lodge Tapas is a culinary experience. If you decide to eat on a weeknight, you may get have the option of choosing Mexican flavours, but aside from this, the restaurant boasts a Modern Australian fusion. And the meal really is delightful.
My partner and I sampled a cocktail each- Creme Brulee Martini, and an Apple Liquorice Gin Sour. From these simple selections, we found creative twists and a lot of love. The Creme Brulee Martini was delicious, like an ice cream. The Gin Sour was heavy on the aniseed, and we later learned that they infuse their gin in-house. The attention and time invested in each element of the menu was just astounding, and we later discovered this after perusing the tapas menu.
The tapas menu, or entree menu, has such a range.
The beetroot cured salmon with pickled vegetables was fresh and smoky, a lovely appetiser that tantalised the tastebuds with twists of salt and sugar, having been cured with fresh beetroot.
The zucchini fries with zatar and crunchy garlic aioli was a fun reinvention of a classic shareplate item- a must have on any tapas night.
The double cooked pork belly was simply divine. This dish is deceptively simple and a real treat. It’s simple in that tastes like home, and yet there was so much detail and energy put into the dish, with the smoothness of coconut and duck fat, and hints of chinese spices and salt. The apple and scallop elements add a light sweetness that really compliment the plate.
The chargrilled haloumi is unadulterated flavour, with shallow fried tofu that is crispy on the outside and silken on the inside. The bed grilled vegetables were the tastiest of morsels, adding Mediterranean nuances.
I saw what others ordered and was desperately jealous to try them, but I’ll have to come back. The head chef, ex Aria chef Kyoung Sub Cha, has designed a unique menu that he says allows him to focus on the art of food. The richness of flavour really shows a love of food, in a relaxed atmosphere. I felt quite comfortable with the family friendly nature of the restaurant, and was delightfully surprised by the quality of food.
We finished our meal with a decadent and rich Dark Chocolate Fondant, and a Lodge Aussie Mess. A delicious ending to a great night. The Aussie Mess seemed like a fusion of deconstructed pavlova and an Eton Mess and it was light, fluffy, sweet and delectable. I had a wonderful dinner at Lodge Tapas, and I would recommend this unique experience to anyone, looking for a casual meal throughout the day, a couple’s dinner, or a family treat.