What happens when you’re trying to diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle you have been struggling to keep up on the daily? Well, you usually receive a vague text such as, “ciders. same place. 6pm.” just before your gym session. How could I say no? I’m not a monster. Thus, started the evening at 540 on Barkly situated on Barkly Street in West Footscray. I must confess, I love to share. Sharing food with friends is a great reason to fill up your table with an array dishes you have never tried before. This is especially true when you’re friends with people who’re usually not so sensible and over order beyond their stomach real estate can handle. My kind of people.
We were on a mission. Not so impossible, but one even Ethan Hunt would happily take on without a blink of an eye (Hopefully, not before the secret message explodes). We couldn’t over look the Tapas listing or even the Mains for that matter. Everything sounded so damned good. After the standard ‘Umms’, ‘Ahhs’ and ‘Can we just order everything?’, we locked in our choices.
Eagle-eyed detectives will notice the missing Arancini in the bottom right (Some people just can’t wait.) courtesy of Brother T. On top of being helpful and courteous the staff at 540 are experts in timing. Swiftly, one dish after another came out from the kitchen and eventually our table was inundated. Where does one start?
Not a crowd favourite due to the salty cumin crust. I thought it was perfectly fine after squeeze of lime because the fish wasn’t dry and the salsa provided a fresh taste.
I appreciated the difference in shape which can only mean one thing. Home made and individually wrapped by humans, not machines. The prawn were soft and bursty, everything you could want in a steamed gyoza.
“I can finally die now”. Word for word from Brother T after polishing off an Arancini in record time. I really can’t say the same because I’m not a fan of Arancini in general. These little balls were fried crisp and melded well with the sweet and tangy relish. I can see a lot of people liking this you’re cheese lover.
Apologies for the poor photo, I really didn’t want to post the photo but I’m too OCD to it leave out. The Koftas were aromatic, particular notes of cumin against the lean ground lamb worked very well with the soft cous cous, sweet sultanas and the crunch from the almonds. A very balanced dish for me.
Easily my favourite of the evening, probably due to my affinity to everything fried. The Calamari did not taste greasy or oily at all. Crispy on the outside and amazingly tender once bit. That homemade tartare sauce must be one of the best renditions in the Kingdom of Tartare I have tasted.
Imagine Chorizo in meatball form and you have the above. The meatballs tasted rich by itself but the tomato sauce did a good job of cutting through the richness. Fork tender, it gave way easily and I could imagine easily destroying these meatballs without teeth. Extra points to the Turkish bread for mopping up the remaining sauce.
I love pie. All types of pies. I don’t discriminate. 540’s pie is everything I want in a pie. The pastry lid crispy and flakey. A bit on the salty side, the tender beef gravy worked so well with the mash potato but may put off non-sodium lovers (I love salt!).
I was stuffed by the time we made through half the dishes. But I did mention before we’re not the most sensible bunch in the world. Half way through a piece of calamari, I hear the words, “Can we order that as well?” pointing enthusiastically at the diners behind me who just received their meal. Oh dear.
On set of food coma, these bad boys arrived with a side of chips. Of course. I found 540’s pulled pork was tender like most places but overall more juicier. The slaw cut through the richness of the pork and bun but I had to give in. The chips were also very nice and fluffy inside even though they look a bit standard in the photo.
I would definitely come back for a lot of things of 540’s menu and also that damned tartare sauce. Their service was top notch and there was a lovely man who checked up on us every so often who I later found out to be Simon, the owner.
4 moustaches out of 5