Friday, July 3, 2009

The Prestige (aka The Local Taphouse)...

Every magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called 'the pledge'. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards a bird or a man...

...another Eastern suburbs beer house seeking to establish itself as a new hot spot. The Local Taphouse Darlinghurst has set up scrumptious shop on the crowded dining and drinking fringes of Surry Hills. A shadowy interior in seductive black is huskily illuminated by golden bulbs of light adorned with antique bird cages. Wooden, cosy, curious crammed corners everywhere, cavernous couches in Old World prints, drinking, eating, general Friday night merriment: it feels exactly like being inside The Prestige, minus the intoxicating presence of Signor Bale. But who needs Christian when you have a menu like this?

'Pub Food' just does not do justice to what is going on here. An epic, solid, confident menu tells a tale of prosciutto, grilled merguez, stuffed capsicum, ChilliJamBasilMeatballs, tapatapatapenade, spiced feta, lithe lemon myrtle mayonnaise, firecrackerish frites with a serious case of Battered Beer Syndrome in Chilli, mussels aimlessly adrift in LemonLeekThyme, 10 inch pizza with oh so roasted TomatoBasilShavedParmesan, eye fillet, swimming snapper, linguine, beguiling burgers, chocolate in fancy and double stouted as mousse....Drowning in your own drool, much? Oh, C+K'ians, all the rumours they have been pouring into my willing ear are true, I do believe we have struck edible gold. 

The second act is called the 'the turn'. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret...

These frites are the categorical reason that the phrase 'Mother Fucker' simply had no choice other than to exist. They are the turn. They are the mother fucking maddening turn! They will turn your taste buds all the way to on. I don't care where life takes me and what it makes of me, I will never rid myself of the ability to flip out over seriously good hot chips. I am batty about battered, make no mistake, and good hot chips are damn hard to find. These chilli frites were so good that they actually hurt. I was pained, offended and demoralized by their unfathomable deliciousness. It was complete and utter Ouch, Potato! You can't even pretend you've had hot chips until you have tried these babies. They are spiced with a sinisterly generous spattering of chilli flakes, beer battered into a frenzy and served with a little parmesan mayonnaise dipping pool that you can douse their literal, and metaphoric, flames with. These are better than my former fry love, the twice cooked fries at Little Creatures Brewery in Freemantle. Hell, they're even better than Fry from Futurama. Lo and Behold. I ordered another bowl the second I lost myself in that first virginal bite. So crisp, cut wide, like agonizing oblongs of angular delight, nice and broad but not too thick. Jesus. This dish deserves a following, it calls for a sacred text, it demands nothing less than a yearly pilgrimage to a distant land. Bite into the crisp beer battered skin and Potato as Platonic Form awaits you. The taste doesn't end in your mouth, food this good becomes pelvic...

Right. Breathe in, breathe out, tell them about the rest, Amanda. The burgers are gorgeous little creations, like a teapot, short and stout. Filled with luscious meat and deep sauces (vege option as well). The 3 Beer Beef Burger (my cholesterol just went up writing that) is a slick little teeth sinker with aecht shlenkerla rauchbier, gruyere cheese, tomato, rocket and hofbrau munich helles battered onion rings and hoegaarden and lemon myrtle mayo with rosemary roasted potato wedges. It's fat, rocking, Burger Heaven, the kind you struggle to wrap your mouth around and lick your fingers over. 

The Barramundi is one of the most surprisingly enjoyable meals I have had in ages, a huge flavoursome serve for twenty six bucks. It comes to you heaving on a heavy plate, delicate and pliable, beneath a divine crispy skin, crowd surfing on mashed peas, orgasmic olives, tomato and little intense flickers of lingering lemon. The mash was incredible and the olives were amazing, trust an Arab when they tell you olives are good, it's a very well researched topic for them. This dish was so filling I had to share it. Surprising to get great fish at a place that does burgers, pizza and meat so well. This Barra could have held it's own against any top end restaurant in Sydney, and the serve for the price is really good value. Exciting to see food of this standard in a really relaxed setting, and with so many quirky beers to match.

The Taphouse really is a beautiful place to stay a long while in. The lighting is a pain in the ass for good photos, but it makes the place great to be in, you want to sink in, drink, talk, eat and stay stay stay. Modern interiors can leave you feeling a bit cold and sterile, this setting is so textured and kooky and comfortable, you're just happy to be among all the lights and cages and lampshades. I had one of the best nights I have had in a long time here, and I also tried some damn fine meat balls.

A tiny wonder, of Great Balls of Meatish Fire with schlenkerla bauchbier (I am copying this verbatim from menu and checking spelling, so don't be impressed or anything) and oregano beautifully braised in tomato, chilli jam and basil, is a beautiful thing to Bemouth. We all thought we detected some honey or brown sugar infusing the tomatoness, there was a really earthy kind of sweetness to the way it all tasted, so divine, I usually dislike tomato sauces because they taste too acidic, this was Smooth As. 

Should I tell you about dessert? Should I? No, Really? Do You Really want to know?...Well, I guess just this once. Now, I didn't get any clear shots of a kinky little thing that drove a few of us to frenzies of exclaimed delight! Siren's Chocolate Fancy. If you see it on the specials board, don't even wait for the end of the meal to try it, have it for entree. It's a fudgey consistency of RichRichRich chocolate with a little white chocolate and berry, and is an Atheist's Heaven. The little gobs on the sticky end of your darting fork should be directed to your mouth, post haste, simply apply to your tongue and let your taste buds do the rest. Wicked dessert. So luscious and smooth and creamy and rich. Hardcore Chocolate.

And the mousse? It should be hanging from your frickin wall! James is a mousse nutter, and he was not disappointed to say the least. It's double chocolate. Can somebody please enlighten me on why the word 'double' sounds so good and so right next to the word 'chocolate'? TongueFerrari, this one, at 250ks down Alimentary Highway. SlipperyNaughtyMintishOnTopChocolateChocolateSmooth Move. Get a big spoonful and slowly lick it and suck a little. Wait for it to give way. Patiently, patiently. Allow it to melt, that's the way to eat mousse, you should never take bites, play with the softness, it's so right it's wrong.

Alas, I hardly ever drink, so no heads up on the booze. I can tell you all that beer in the food was delicious, and they do have a bunch of beer brands I have never heard of. The menu matches beer to dishes, it's a MetroBogan's dream come true. I love this picture below, notice how the dude on the right actually has a real beer sitting right next to his protesting mouth? He's probably dead now, but if he can see that, I bet he's happy.

By the end of dinner, I was all Smiles: great food, great place, great company (the latter can't be guaranteed for your visit).

You've had The Pledge.

You've had The Turn.

But what of, The Prestige?

Making something disappear isn't enough, you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call 'The Prestige'.

I couldn't specify the exact moment in the night they pulled the third act on me, but pull it they did. Maybe when I was biting into a frite? Or when the Chocolate was stealing every last drop of my drunken dessert fancy? It could even have been when I saw the burgers come out. No doubt about it, I will be back. We all Will. James decided we have should have lunch here, every day, always and forever. 

The Local Taphouse happens at 122 Flinders St, Darlinghurst, ph 9360 0088, webpage here. Unbeerably Good Stuff. 

Thanks Tats, Sara, James, Erin, GeorgeWithNewHair and hilarious ShireZam Girl, Emma, Knobs and Knockers will never be the same again.

1 comment:

Sherriff said...

I KNOW.

THE MOUSSE.


ARRRRGGGGHHHHHH.


Etc.