Saturday, April 14, 2012

Beaufort Street Merchant Cafe

Beaufort Street Merchant.

As I entered this cafe/restaurant, the first thing I noticed was how dimly lit the place was. The walls were filled with bookshelves and cupboards were full of jars, chocolates and a selection of gourmet goodies. 

I don’t know whether this was because it was the month of easter or if The Beaufort Street Merchant is like this normally, but there was so much chocolate in this place, I didn’t know where to start looking. It was a Saturday night and this place was pretty much full.

We were seated at a table with floating candles and a vase of flowers. A very romantic settling if that was the idea...but this was a double date, so not really the atmosphere we were going with.. haha.

I had to move the flowers after several attempts to strategically place my head so that I could see the others at the table. The menu looked quite simple and select, to what reminded me of a fusion of Italian and modern Australian. There were hearty dishes such as The Merchant burger, chicken pie, fish, pork and fillet, plus sides such as chips and greens and lighter meals such as gourmet salads and plates to share. 

There were two pasta dishes which sounded equally delicious and the special of the night was also pasta.

The gourmet salads especially interested me; beetroot and choritzo; avocado and cherry tomatoes; and spiced chickpea and artichokes with a lemon yogurt dressing…..hummm winner!!

We ordered the entrée of pearl barley mushrooms which were mushrooms stuffed with delicacies such as goats curd and herbs served with a salad.

Our waitress took our order and offered for us to chose our drinks from the drinks fridges in the restaurant. I glanced over to the section of the restaurant dedicated to storing beers, ciders and wines from all over the world. 

As I browsed the selection, I noticed beers with unusual flavours such as banana bread beer and raspberry beer. If only I was a true beer fan! …

After waiting a good 15-20 minutes for entrée, our mains were brought to the table. We asked the waitress where our mushrooms for entrée were and at that point we realised she had some how missed that request from us, and these were never actually ordered.

After she offered to reorder some, we decided we would just eat the mains in front of us and not worry about entrée…after all the mains looked incredible!

I ordered the chickpea salad $18 (with extra prawns $12)

These Moroccan spiced chickpeas were the star of the dish, complimented by small pieces of aubergine, artichokes, and sweet potato tossed through baby spinach. This was drizzled with a tart lemon and mint yogurt dressing which complimented the chickpeas, which were in a curry-like consistency sauce.
The tang of the yogurt went beautifully with the rich spiced chickpeas. I couldn’t get enough!!
If anything, the dish was predominately dominated by chickpeas and there was very little of anything else – like the other veges.
I gobbled this up scraping the plate clean without once reaching for the pepper and salt. (Which goes to show – the flavour was amazing!).

The large king prawns fried and placed on top of my salad added that protein element that I really need in a salad! Although there was plenty of chickpeas to fill me up, the prawns complimented the dish wonderfully too.

We also ordered the Rotolo Pasta $25 (with extra prawns $12)

This homemade egg pasta with roast pumpkin, ricotta, pinenuts, sage and burnt butter was UNBELIEVEABLE!
We ordered extra prawns to go with this dish and four large succulent king prawns were placed on top of the delicately curled pasta rolls, oozing burnt butter and sprinkled with fried sage.

The smell of the burnt butter aroma was beautiful.
We could smell this from the kitchen before our meals even arrived at our table.

As I cut into the pasta rolls, burnt butter and ricotta oozed out and the pine nuts added a tiny crunch to this velvety smooth pasta dish. That sweet pumpkin with the sage leaf complimented the entire dish, giving each ingredient an element which unified the dish wonderfully.
With only four rolls of pasta, this dish could be considered less than an average size, however the flavour combinations and texture impressed me so much that I got over the smaller-sized serving.

There was not a scrap left on either of our plates and with a sigh of satisfaction we leaned back into our chairs to appreciate the wonderful meal we just devoured in 10 minutes.

As we were leaving the Beaufort Street merchant, I passed a table with a large array of dedicant desserts. Doing a complete 360, I turned around to analyse what was on offer.

Rainbow coloured macarons, overfilled muffins bursting with fruit and chocolate, rich cakes and much more!

If we weren’t heading elsewhere for coffee and cake, I would have happily tried any of these desserts.

Highs: Best salad I’ve ordered at a restaurant in a long time!
Lows: Size of the Rotolo Pasta
Will I return? Definitely, I’d love to see what the other dishes look like.
Overall: 9/10

The Beaufort Street Merchant on Urbanspoon

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