Meat-lovers would like the idea of a gourmet butchery selling grilled meats and roasts on site. At Espirito Santo's Parkway Parade branch, they have portioned out about a third of the shop space and converted it into a bistro.
Looking past the hearty-sounding sandwiches (it was a very difficult choice) and the interesting-sounding Brazilian specialties (it was pure meat that we sought) on the menu, we decided on a pig, a bird and a cow.
Before the meats arrived, lunch was ushered in by a serving of complimentary squares of olive-studded bread with an accompanying pesto dip. I don't normally rave about complimentary bread but this one here is making me break my norm. Warm and spotting a nice crust with a chewy interior, the bread was good on its own. The bits of black olives added just a slight flavour but dip it into the pesto and a sunny burst of fresh basil and olive oil erupted.
I thought the way Dad decided on his order was quite cool. He simply ignored the menu and walked straight to the display counter where all the goodies were. Visuals are sure better than mere words and this is especially true as one grows.
The Roasted Pork Rack with Crackling Skin ($22) was meaty and tender. The outer parts were lean and tended to be a tad dry while the portion nearer the bone was juicier. The crackling skin had a taut bite and upon repeated chewing, fragrant oils coated the palate with a slight salty edge. It was similar to the skin on a good siew yok (Chinese roasted pork).
The Hungry Cow went for, no surprise here, beef. The Premium Aged Australian Ribeye ($27) was unfortunately not as good as the sound of its name. I found it a let-down as the steak was heavily marinated and slathered with a full-flavoured brown sauce. The herb marinate had taken away the sweet beefiness. Maybe the next time I should request for my steak to be only seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper.
On this rare occasion where the pig was decent and the cow a flop, it was the bird that stood proudly. Mum's order of Free Range Chicken Leg Roasted with Rosemary, Garlic, olive Oil and Lime ($15) was fantastic! With a leg this big, the size of the chicken must have been more like a turkey on steroids. Thankfully, the flesh was succulent and flavourful. The marinate of rosemary, garlic, olive oil and lime was simple enough to enhance the natural taste of the chicken.
Each of the above order came with mashed potatoes that was uninspiring but the sauteed vegetables of carrots, zucchini, button mushroom, cherry tomato and asparagus were sweet and a delicious break from all the meat. An interesting garnish was the thin deep-fried swirls of sweet potato and spring onion (I think) that adorned each main course mentioned above. It was just slightly salty and fragrant.
For a casual bistro (in a butchery no less), the service was good with special mention of one particular wait staff who made it a pleasure for me to have dined there. Kudos to you for your attentive service that would have shamed even other full-fledged restaurants.
Parkway Parade Shopping Centre
Tel: 6440 8867
Chew On This: There's a Working Lunch Menu featuring a set lunch option for those seeking Mondays to Fridays lunches.