Tuesday 25 September 2007


The combination of a dark deserted road and the sentence "I'm going to take you on the best mandate of your life" would usually be met with slight reservedness and a fair amount of fear. However the sight of lights draped across leafless trees immediately alleviates fears of man-love and is replaced with the excitement of a Michael Lambie inspired meal.

Approaching the building we enter the door on the right which leads us into the bar dining area (the left door led to the restaurant - which for today has been booked out for a function). We had arrived without a booking however the friendly staff were more than accommodating and found us a table. For a "bar" the décor and furniture was of a very high quality, as we parked ourselves on comfortable steel framed chairs in front of a stone table laden with heavy steel cutlery & crystal wine glasses.

After perusing the menu we decided two mains and a side of fries to have along with a bottle of smooth Victorian pinot. My man-date for the evening could not forego Lamaro's signature dish - The Sichuan Spiced Duck, served with a Salad of Papaya, Flavoured Salt and a Wedge of Lime (a meal I have had the pleasure of eating on a previous visit). First impressions were the slightly charred crispy skin that married well with the juicy flesh. However what made this meal unforgettable was the perfect balancing of textures and Thai flavours (Sweet, Salty and Sour). The crunchy sweetness of the papaya salad complemented the citrus-y moistness of the duck to create a tantalising treat for the tastebuds. John Lethlan did not lie - this is a dish I could eat over and over again.

I decided to try something different and settled on the Crispy Fried Pork Hock served with fruit and caramel as accompaniments. The idea of the dish was intruiging - where the crunchy fried exterior was to be used to offset a tender moist flesh hiding inside. However the meat inside was slightly stringy and chewy - the dish was far from perfect but was also far from disappointing - Although I probably would not order it again.

I am usually not one to have deserts - however to stick true to the essence of a true mandate I decided to break this rule and ordered the Banana Pudding with Caramel Sauce. In roughly 15 minutes a warm banana pudding served with caramel & icecream arrived. On the side of was the cutest tiniest segment of banana topped with a crisp toffee - showing the level of care and detail involved with this dish. I am going to make the claim - that this was the best desert I have ever tasted. Every time my spoon came near my mouth - everyone of my tastebuds was fighting it's way to the front to ensure it secured a piece of this pudding.

The other desert we ordered was the rubarb crumble which was good in it's own right - however did not hold a candle to the pudding.

All in all - after a night out at Rockpool Bar & Grill we were going to be harsh critics. However not only did we find Lamaro's better value - but quite frankly it was better food. For First Timers - an order of the Duck and Banana pudding will ensure you have a great night. As for the man-date, fortunately it did not also end in a "great night".

4 / 5 yums!
Where? 273 Cecil St, South Melbourne, VIC
What? Contempary - Asian Influenced
Prices? Dinner Menu - $18/$30/$12

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