Friday, 24 June 2011

CBD lunches: Hairy Canary

*disclaimer* this post is about a complimentary meal, which was a tasting of a variety of specials in testing at Hairy Canary

Last week PHo took me to lunch to try a ‘wicked wild boar sandwich’  at Hairy Canary. Hairy Canary is generally thought of as a bar that serves food.  However, with Justin Beilin (a friend of PHo’s) recently taking over as executive chef for it and its younger sibling, Hairy Little Sister, it is shifting its focus to the food. Justin has also recently poached Manuel Villegas from Garcia and Sons in Windsor to lend more Spanish sensibility to their menu. 

Upon arrival, Justin sat us down and explained that he wanted us to test out some of the specials they were trying as part of their revamping of the menu. We began with slow braised calamari and crushed baby potatoes. The calamari was tender and braised in a rich caramelised onion sauce, while the rosemary flavoured potatoes complimented the braise. 

Our next dish was roast suckling pig and cacciatore sausage croquettes with a chipotle romesco. The croquettes were nicely crispy on the outside with a luxurious pork and delice cheese filling. 

The croquettes were followed with the wild boar toasted sandwich with onion marmalade, Dijon and baby cos. The boar was slow roasted, which resulted in a meltingly good sandwich filling that combined well with the crisp lettuce and condiments. Wild boar is an unusual menu item in Melbourne, so I asked Chef Justin about it. He explained that on a recent trip to visit their goat supplier in Gippsland, their supplier mentioned that they had had a problem with wild boars tormenting their herd. They have a license to cull them, however hadn’t had any demand for the meat. Justin happily took one off his hands to feature in a series of winter weekend roasts at Hairy Canary (and of course our tasty sandwich).

The next course was a confit Spanish short rib served with roasted bone marrow and a basque style caper and paprika butter sauce. The beef combined well with the sauce and rich marrow. In the context of our tasting it provided a lull amongst punchier dishes. 

Our final savoury course was a cracking dish of fresh linguini with hand foraged rare mushrooms and rich but delicately flavoured marron bisque (mushrooms pictured below). 

We finished our meal with a good chocolate mousse with fresh honeycomb and chocolate Persian fairy floss – an interesting mix of textures. 

I'd like to see Hairy Canary offering tasting menus like this one. 

*All photos courtesy of PHo
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