Tuesday, June 7, 2011
238 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy, VIC 3065
Tapas - ta·pas/ˈtäpəs/
Spanish definition - Small Spanish savory dishes, typically served for free with drinks at a bar.
Melbourne definition - Create a menu of dishes that are smaller than, but priced slightly higher than a typical entree. Expect 1 adult to require at least 1.5-2 plates per person to feel remotely full.
OK that sounds horribly cynical, but having traveled through Spain, both my wallet and I cringe at the thought of tapas in Melbourne. Less to do with the food and more to do with the "I just got a smartphone and didn't realise what uncapped data meant" level of bill shock.
This brings us to Birdman Eating. On a wet, miserable Tuesday we end up at Birdman Eating less out of choice and more out of proximity as it was the closest place to Ladro which we discovered is not open for lunch.
Like any establishment in Gertrude st, it is what the locals would call "delightfully eclectic" with little wooden dolls adorned with feathered wings glued on (Birdman, geddit?) suspended from the ceiling alongside bags of heirloom carrots.
Being a quick lunch, decision making off the moderate tapas menu didn't take too long, slow cooked lamb, heirloom carrots and hare & cavalo nero empanadilla's are hastily ordered with a crossing of fingers that it would suffice for two adults.
Hare & cavalo nero empanadillas with aioli
Hare is not a common feature in local menu's so with little point of reference we jumped in to the crispy empanadilla's. The hare & cavalo nero filling consisted of dense shredded hare meat with flecks of cavalo nero and behind it was a certain sweetness of what I am assuming is some sherry to bring it together. Overall it was pleasant with a touch of gaminess teaming well with an aioli that I suspect had a touch of mustard. Not a standout dish that I would travel back for , but at least we were served a sensible number of four portions. Odd number tapas' should be banned from ever being served to even numbered diners.
Slow roasted lamb shoulder with celery heart leaves, fetta, lemon & bread
Slow cooked lamb was as one would expect, tender fall apart lamb that was not in any way greasy paired nicely with a mild danish feta and lemon sauce. Perhaps being a winter day the pale celery heart leaves just looked misplaced and a rich tomato feta and oregano assortment on such a harsh winters day would be more fitting.
Heirloom carrots with cumin tahini yoghurt & nigella seeds
Served with this were hairloom carrots that were cooked perfectly with a nice tahini yoghurt sauce. The nigella seeds added a much needed crunchy texture and flavour burst, probably as good as carrots get and at $15.50 they would certainly want to be.
So here is the thing, nothing at Birdman Eating really offended me other than being like every other tapas establishment in Melbourne. The food is good but the economics don't stack up.
If you were to propose to someone "I know this place in Gertrude st, the food is reasonable but won't blow you away and lunch is about $25 if you don't mind being hungry by late afternoon otherwise expect to spend $35 and that is with water only" Would you get many takers? Didn't think so.
Birdman Eating - 11/20 - recommended perhaps if you eat like a bird, otherwise neutral
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