285 – 287 High Street
Kew 3101, VIC
Phone: (03) 9852 7788
We’ve been seeking a hideaway dining spot on the way home for lazy cooking nights when even takeaway pizza is too hard work. Thanks to Melbourne Citysearch’s location finder we picked Baraka out of the hat.
It’s always a good sign when you open a restaurant door and you can smell dinner. So many restaurants have no smell to them – sterile, modern surroundings, you could be waiting for a train as much as waiting for a meal.
It was early and the restaurant was empty – a Tuesday night so we didn’t expect it to be thumping. It filled up as we ate though with a happy bubble. We were the youngest there by a good 20 years – a good sign?
Decor isn’t a focus here – there’s too much going on out back. A standard one pager menu was complimented by an extensive blackboard – the smudged board implies regular changes.
We shared an entree – bbq calamari ($18.50) with honey roasted walnuts and a crisp rocket salad. Soft strips of calamari with a smokey flavour and a tart vinegarette on the salad leaves.
My main came from the menu – Veal Baraka ($26) – a sure sign of speciality when the restaurant adds its name to a dish. Good portioning of veal coated in a rich mushroom and bacon wine sauce with potato gratin and fresh veges on the side, included not extra. Hubby went for the specials board – a lamb rack ($27) rolled in dukha with a yoghurt sauce and mashed potato.
Desert assulted us as the dining room filled with the smell of burnt sugar – who can resist an orange infused creme brulee ($10)? Especially when you can smell it coming. It arrived with pistachio and chocolate biscotti to dip into the velvet custard.
Hubby is such a blackboard baby, went for a fresh apple and berry crumble ($9.50). Again nice portioning – enough to satisfy, not so much that you’re eating your month’s quota of sugar. A scoop of icecream and vanilla infused runny cream (oh, heaven, there you are) on the side – he ceremoniously mixed the lot together.
The small winelist offers a nice selection of local and New Zealand whites and reds, some by the glass, but the best by the bottle. We washed our meal down with a Leeuwin Estate Siblings Savignon Blanc Semillon – crisp enough to cut through the rich veal main.
Payment accepted: MasterCard, Visa, Diners Club, American Express, Bankcard and EFTPOS
Licensed. Wine is available by the glass. BYO $3.50 corkage per person.
Outside dining area – will be great when Melbourne decides it’s summer.