Grain Bar Redux n = 2

Find the original (and first visit) review of Grain Bar here.

I’ve actually been to Grain Bar twice more since the original visit, but have been caught up blogging many other places, as well as eating out so often that I haven’t had time to revisit my 2nd and 3rd experiences with it.

Grain Bar is still one of the sexiest bars around (the cover picture is one of their walls! Love it), and if you still haven’t been yet, what’s stopping you?

Read on for an exploration of much of the rest of the menu!

Date Visited: 30/10/2012

Grain Bar

Grain Bar

fried old man saltbush

The saltbush is a large shrub native to Australia, and if you were to see it in the outback, you wouldn’t really chalk it up to something you could eat, let alone taste good. Turns out, not only is it edible, but if you give it the appropriate treatment (nothing like a good old fashioned deep frying in batter) it becomes a delicious starter/snack.

It’s basically like crisps, except the core ingredient is a vegetable. The result is quite delicious actually, primarily delivered through the texture. You feel that slight pull of the leafy saltbush underneath the batter, but it’s satisfying more than anything else.

Only complaint? It’s really salty – take it with water or some other neutral filler. I would mention the health consequences of eating deep-fried stuff as well, but who are we kidding here.

Grain Bar

Grain Bar

pork and native thyme sausage roll

This was said to be very good, but I didn’t really feel it as such. The pastry was quite tough and took some effort getting into (though once you got in there it was child’s play). It tasted good though – not just hardened flour.

The filling definitely had the taste of thyme in it which accents the pork quite well, but overall I felt like it was rather blandish in general. It required a lot of tomato sauce to save, and that’s not really a good sign. Probably would skip this next time.

Grain Bar

Grain’s lardo on toast, black & white garlic, spring pollen

Yeah I really have to apologise for the blurriness of the photos here (and indeed, most of the pics for this post)…what seemed sharp on the LCD didn’t translate well onto a bigger size. Lesson to check more carefully next time? Already learnt. Unfortunately a sexy bar also usually means almost no lighting at all…

Lardo on toast – how rustic! And yet, Grain seems to have somehow spiced it up with much pizzaz.

Don’t worry, lardo isn’t lard (though it sure contains fat) – it’s the backmeat of a pig! It has a bit of a rubbery and chewy texture, but it’s meat alright. What brings out the flavours of this particular type of salumi is the black & white garlic, which has a wonderful flavour and goes right through to the toast as well. Speaking of the toast, it’s quite overcooked as it’s black in most places, though I can’t help but feel that this is deliberate since it cannot be that easy to screw up toast. Still the effect is more than I would have liked.

Overall though, quite pleasurable to bite through if you can excuse the quality of the toast.
Oh and that ‘spring pollen’? I’ve no idea what that is, but the little flowers on the dish may have something to do with it…

Grain Bar

Grain Bar

Coorong hanger steak, salt & vinegar sweet potatoes

Hanger steak is known as the “butcher’s steak” as butchers would keep such cuts for themselves, rather than sell them. Why? Because of its flavour, of course! It’s one of the best cuts of beef, that’s for sure.

Grain’s rendition of this steak is right about average. It’s not particularly exceptional, though it was cooked to specification (medium) and thus texture was spot on. The flavours just didn’t shine through as much as I’d have hoped. Call it high expectations?

The decision to pair the steak with sweet & sour sweet potatoes was a very odd one…they don’t match at all. Because of this, you should finish either the steak or the potatoes fully first before starting on the other – you don’t get a palate cleanser, and you’re SURE to have conflicting flavours on your palate if you mix ‘n’ match. As for the taste of the sweet potatoes themselves – it’s definitely the first time I’ve had sweet potatoes cooked with a sour edge…I think this is a flavour combo I have to get used to!

Grain Bar

chicken & rocket on sourdough bread sandwich

Your average seared chicken sandwich: the bread is decent, the chicken is just a little dry and the dressing is just about right. Not bad, not bad.

Grain Bar

Grain Burger – with fish patty

This is the second variation of the Grain Burger (the first one was with pulled beef, remember?) and it comes with a fish patty. Immediately, I knew I prefer the beef version, but this fish version has its own merits too – it’s well cooked and it actually delivers a good deal of flavour (which so many fish patties fail at spectacularly).

Other aspects of the burger are the same as the beef version of the burger, so be sure to read that review!

Grain Bar still delivers, so deliver yourself to its doors!

As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three 😀

My rating for Grain Bar remains unchanged as of the first review.

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