Sunday 26 July 2009

Panama Dining Room

Axle Whitehead and that infamous MTV incident. Will Farrell’s explicit tea bagging of the drums in Step Brothers. Panama Dining Room’s dining room, just one step too far.

Don’t get me wrong, I love having a drink in the warehouse loft space with massive arched windows, plenty of retro guts that’s so arty hip Smith Street, free pool and table tennis before busier times. I wanted to love the food but perhaps misplaced faith blinded me.

It started off nicely, two deep fried zucchini flowers at $17 fine but rather expensive. For similar prices, more interest in the generous amount of clams in a manzanilla broth, “grains” of orzo (like barley) and broad beans and a tuna rolled in sesame seeds seared with an accompanying avocado puree and a basil seed vinaigrette.

Rolled rabbit loin, with roasted leg demonstrated skill in cooking the meat to perfection and retaining moisture, spelt, green olives and balsamic onions with a healthy amount of carrot puree definitely a better choice over the baked slab of lamb, the earthy flavour of the meat not masked at all and rather over powering. A fetta and spinach crumble and chickpea chips good but accompaniments for both mains better matched with something else.

Chocolate éclairs, cream filled sinister for the health but not for tastes, fresh strawberries and jelly with a mascarpone sorbet with walnut mini meringues a fresh and lovely marriage of fruity and dairy textures.

If the food matched the heights of the bar, the place probably would be more packed than it currently is. Maybe a good thing it doesn’t reach the standards, otherwise getting into Panama might need you calling upon your connections at Prestige Worldwide just for entry.

2 / 5 yums!
Where? Level 3, 231 Smith St, Fitzroy, VIC
What? Entrees $17, Mains $29, Desserts $12

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