I was lucky enough to attend a sneak preview of Rose Diner and Bar this week. The staff were smiling, the paint freshly dried and the chefs were ready to go.
Ash and Steed, the lovely gentlemen behind the venture were relaxed and smiling. “This is what we do, its hospitality” they told us. The hard part of refitting the now beautiful Rose Diner was over and the show was about to start.
As Tom and Winter behind the bar mixed us up a few drinks we had a look around to get a feel of the place.
Its light, its relaxing and its beautiful. Wooden tables, and a wooden bar are highlighted with mint green features, exposed brick and thoughtful touches.
The menu, created by chef Stephen Drake is about good produce and simple classic dishes executed well. He was after a sense of nostalgia. Entrees like the prawn cocktail and vol-au-vents and mains like a steak Diane or a leek and Gruyere quiche really achieve this. There is even a corned beef sandwich available.
When it came to ordering, the four of us decided that the more dishes and sharing involved the better.
For appetizers we started with oysters ($3.5), Welsh rarebit croquettes with pickled tomato and raisins ($9) some Fried green olives ($7) a coronation chicken vol-au-vent and a crayfish vol-au-vent.
These were outstanding. The olives were crisp and warm and packed a real flavour. The salty olive came through underneath the batter. I can see myself ordering these every time I visit.
The Croquettes burst with rich cheesy flavour, which was matched perfectly with the refreshing and sweet tomato and raisin accompaniment. The vol-au-vents, while fun could have had a bit more flavour to them for me.
On to entrees.
We went with the Red spanner crab, warm Nicola potato, crab bisque and quail egg ($19) and the Pan-roasted Hervey Bay Scallops with pickled green chilli and mint ($17).
Again they was delicious; and served on the cutest plates. Their love of the Country Woman’s Association shone through in the crockery choices.
The spanner crab dish was creamy and delicate at the same time. The potato and the tiny eggs were the perfect combination to the crab. The Scallops packed a punch. Fresh scallops, combined with the heat from the chilli made it a great dish.
Now, we may have over ordered a little of the mains, but it seemed a shame not to order big!
We had the Steak Diane with brandy mustard and shallot ($25), the Char-grilled salt bush lamb, lemon and thyme, roasted peppers and slow cooked garlic ($29) and the Pan-roasted snapper with clams, braised lettuce, bacon and white ale ($26).
To accompany we ordered the salad of Fresh peas, basil, mint, parsley, shallots lemon and quinoa ($14), the Heirloom tomatoes, cucumber dried oregano, red onion and crouton ($9) and the Hand-cup chips ($6).
The portion sizes were very generous and we were very happy diners. Forks were going this way and that trying everything.
The lamb and the snapper were both cooked beautifully. With the lamb pink and the snapper falling apart with the fork. The salads added fresh crisp highlights to the meals and I would highly recommend them. The fresh peas with the herbs was a lovely mix.
However for us, the Steak Diane was the stand out. It was just beautiful. Tender and flavoursome, thinking about it now is literally making my mouth water. The sauce made it beautifully moist and the light salad leaves were a lovely accompaniment.
While dessert was not necessary we couldn’t say no. We opted to, once again share, the Peach Melba, the Valrhona chocolate filled doughnuts and Mum’s Trifle.
The doughnuts were HUGE and there were five of them, I would highly recommend sharing them. They are rich and decedent and I don’t know anyone who could easily eat all five. I am not a huge fan of sponge or custard so it was no surprise that the trifle wasn’t my favourite, but according to those who do like trifle, it was a good one. The Peach Melba was delicious. Rich ice cream with peaches and sorbet all drizzled in coulis was a divine combination. I would highly recommend it.
We left feeling very full and happy. There are about ten other things I want to try on the menu and I know for a fact my mum would be in foodie heaven here, so I will be back. Most likely many a time.
Little Rose opens this Saturday February 4th. Seriously excited about jaffles, milkshakes and coffee. Will be heading there for a weekend brunch soon.