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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bites: Five Bar @ Mount Lawley

Mount Lawley has always been a treasure throve for foodies.  From my epic fine dining at Jackson’s to the best tapas at Cantina’s 663, there was very little to hate on this happening street.  In fact, if budget is a concern do not be put off by the likes of Must Wine Bar, Beaufort Street Merchant or Jackson’s as there are plenty of others in town that could feed for $20 or less.  I spent student days eating at a little Japanese shop called Tan PoPo while I discovered Mr Munchies Sushi’s a year or two ago.  And now, Five Bar on 560 Beaufort Street was my latest haunt.  Believe it or not, it was definitely a place that can feed for a moderate amount of money.  Here is my lunch experience.
First up were the Ham Hock & Cheddar Croquettes with Chutney  for $12.  Golden brown croquettes are best enjoyed right away.  It was crispy with a subtle hint of smokiness from the ham hock bits.  More decadent were the occasional bites of gooey melted cheddar :)!   My only dislike was the chutney.  When eaten it had a bitter taste instead of a fruity bite @@!
Next up was the Beef Tartare with Horseradish, shallots and brioche for $17.  While my beef intake has been quite occasional, coming across such a promising dish felt too hard to give a miss.  Fortunately the beef tartare was absolutely moreish with all the bits of pickle giving it a very intense flavor which was a mix of salty, sweet and sour.  Having the tartare with some horseradish and a sprinkling of shallot was a perfect pairing.
P1050017Beef Tartare with Horseradish, shallots and brioche.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFIVE’S Philly Steak Sandwich was around $15.  It was a nice bread with decent chunks of steak and caramelized onions all held together by a slab of melted cheese.  Now, if only we could get a little more sauce in there?! The first bite was good, but by the second one it turned bland.  More flavor and more sauce please!   This could have been a bad ass sandwich that could turn the biggest bread haters to lovers.
FIVE’S Bahn Mi Roll ($13) was another bread dish shared amongst the three of us that day. Hoisin pulled pork, coriander, mayo and chili in a ciabatta. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACould this Five Bar’s rendition on the classic Bahn Mi best its predecessors?  It really depends on how you feel a Bahn Mi should be.  For me the combination used at Five Bar lacked the necessary flavors which I dubbed the South East Asian kick.  A kick where each mouthful should bowl you over with a salty, sweet, and sour flavor with hint of heat.  Not to mention a refreshing bite that keeps you wanting more and more! I liked the coriander and chili bits but found the pork a little unenthusiastic and the use of the hoisin sauce unnecessary for such a bread classic as it feels a little cloying.  Or perhaps unnatural.  
Last but not least on the table were Noona’s Meatballs ($14)
P1050038At Five Bar, a serve of Noona’s will get you 6 tasty meatballs topped with a rich tomato sauce, cheese and a sprinkling of herbs.  Honestly, was would there be to complain about?  Simple pleasures for sure!  Worth ordering! But I wished they would have given a few toasted ciabatta on the side with a little more sauce to go with as it was not very filling for $14.  Saying that, I remember the yummy meal I had at Ace Pizza awhile ago! 
Our bill totaled to $96 dollars including a few rounds of drinks for my companions, but the meal itself would have been slightly over $60.  If you are an OK sized eater like myself, it is definitely enough to fill you up.  While there were a few ups and downs throughout the meal, I would thoroughly recommend the croquettes, beef tartare and meatballs which were delicious!  In terms of bread, I could have tried Five Bar’s highly rated Reuben Sandwich instead of the Bahn Mi or the Philly Steak.  But as I am a trigger happy person when it comes to ordering, I have no regret whatsoever.  Despite disliking the Bahn Mi or the Philly Steak, they were hardly a bad eat and would fall in the upper end of my “OK” scale.  Service was prompt and the environment at Five Bar is so laid back on a Sunday afternoon it feels right to come in and chill out.  There is also a pool/snooker table if you are keen.
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