Anada – half a year later
197 Gertrude St
03 9415 6101
Following a tragic stumble across Melbourne for well over an hour for a lunch spot, we ended up on Gertrude Street. It seems like a day for second visits, first Auction Rooms, now Anada – a place with positively memories attached to it, partly in its dining experience but also as the place I celebrated my graduation. The décor remains the largely the same as I last remember it.
Syrian lentils on crouton with crispy onion – served on what looks like a cardboard-plate are these golden croutons with an earthy spoonful of Syrian lentils, topped with crispy crumbs of onion. My only negative: it is a tad heavy on salt.
Salt cod and garlic shoot croqueta – oval shaped morsels of creamy cod wrapped in a crispy, golden-brown exterior.
Morcilla – the square block of black pudding gave a rich and slightly metallic taste (no doubt from the Iron in the blood, duh), rooved by a lightly pan fried quail egg to provide a touch of light elegance. Probably not for the faint hearted…
Beetroot – thick juicy slices of beetroot marinated in a sharp sherry vinegar, worked well with the creamy texture of the labneh. Shreds of mint adds a bit of cool aftertaste.
Pork belly with fennel seed and smoky aubergine – the crackle was crisp and the belly juicy, the aubergine had a nice tangy-acidity and it is by all means a good rendition. Though having tasted the great rendition of its heavenly crackling late last year which had a blisteringly brittle crackle that not only crunched, it also melted away in your mouth, I would like to see that version come back.
Paella with chicken, prawns, cuttlefish, clams, and skate – the fresh selection of seafood and the perfectly cooked rice with the coveted thin base of caramelised-rice-crusting against the pan really allowed this paella to burst at the seams with bold sea flavours. The only niggling thought was that it might be a tad on the saltier side, but only my personal preference for less salt, and certainly such a dish requires a certain degree of salinity to bring out the aromas.
Rating: Yummy +1 – well executed, reasonably priced and still in my mind comparable to Movida. Indeed there are a few small cracks in the details, but these are easily forgotten in the grand scheme of things.