Spanish roundup fiesta III – Lulo
Now for part 3 of the Spanish series. P.S. Avoid scrolling all the way down for my final verdict…
The sherry fino cured yellow fin tuna speckled with chilli provided a delightful palate starter. Light, moreish, and a little bit of heat to start the salivation.
Potato and truffle soup – was something I would have expected from a French bistro menu, but nonetheless a beautifully velvety potato soup with the headiness of black truffle. Not too heavy, with just enough creaminess.
Calamares con Arroz Negro – brought two tasty individuals together to make something absolutely alluring. Squid ink risotto – TICK, freshly chargrilled calamari – TICK. A little fennel salsa to finish. One of my favourite creations of the night.
Patatas bravas al estilo Madrid – cut in cubes, the potato is showered in a dust of roasted tomato, chilli and dolloped with Spanish style aioli. I personally prefer Bohemians‘ lighter rendition, as I found the alioli without the more acidic tomato sauce to contrast leaves it much to heavy on the palate.
Octopus. This cold-served dish paired with grapefruit oil, pomelo, dehydrated olive was my least favourite dish. Cold octopus gave a slightly unpleasant fishiness and overpowering olive intensity.
Artichoke croqueta – with black garlic aioli.
Wagyu bistic – uses chargrilled grade 6 wagyu beef. Fullstop delicious. It is earthy, with buttery soft grains, and a meaty sweetness. A clean radish salad, spinach puree to accompany.
Golden cooked cassava chips with smoked yoghurt and avocado.
Swiss brown and pine mushrooms – was an elegant mushroom forest lightly seared to amplify the innate savoury-sweetness. The porcini puree with truffle oil and ground nuts provided an extra layer of umami to the fungus fiesta.
Churros – golden and crispy. Chocolate sauce a little weak for my liking.
Rating: Yummy+0.5. There is a huge variety of options on offer. Whilst the smaller tapas were far less memorable, the larger share plates were the sure winners here. The must tries are tied between the Calamares con Arroz Negro, Wagyu bistic, and Mushrooms dish.
Where: 798 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn
Contact: 03 9818 8321
Overall thoughts for Spanish Roundup:
There is no doubt for those who have been to Spain, that food back in Melbourne is just not the same as that in the home country, especially when one makes comparisons of cost to quality, but after all we are in Melbourne. Without being overly harsh on the finer details, the three places in this roundup certainly do a good job relative to other local offerings.
As a baseline for comparison, I have kept some of my favourite Melbourne Spanish numbers in mind, with Anada and its more rustic angle, Movida with a more upmarket and contemporary elegance, and finally the Aylesbury.
Lulo provides a slight Latin slant in its menu, offering generous servings. The larger share plates (I proclaim) are the signatures here. I absolutely adored the wagyu and mushrooms dishes, bringing forth a warming bistro dishes with Spanish flavours.
Portello rosso provides much more pared back glimpse at Spanish cuisine, keeping to the simplicity and intensities of said protagonist of each dish, in some ways similar to that at Anada. The tapas are delightful and moreish, and the paella provides the much coveted crispy base.
The Bohemian on the flipside is far lighter than the other two, and whilst taking a more trendy direction (akin to Movida) retains a down-to-earth feel. The small tapas are mouthfuls of bam-in-your-mouth flavours! And the dessert offerings are sumptuous.
I would rank the Bohemian amongst the above mentioned forerunners, and the other two contenders not too far behind. However, there are certain dishes (signature or not), that in my opinion should be the signature dishes, and are a worthwhile reason to visit and try in their own right.
Must tries: (Note, not all dishes may be available due to seasonality and menu changes)
Lulo: Calamares con Arroz Negro, Wagyu bistic, and Mushrooms dish.
Portello Rosso: paella, pork belly, chorizo
The Bohemian: Bunuelos de Chocolate, Quail thigh lollipops, Patatas bravas.