Sunday, October 26, 2014

Harry's Restaurant, (by invitation) Melbourne CBD by Bureaucrat

Horses, fashion on the field and the Spring Carnival burger!  Yep, it's almost Melbourne Cup day and what better way to enjoy this annual event than with some fine food.  While the Eat and Be Merry Crew were invited to try out the Spring Carnival burger at Harry's Restaurant at the Stamford Plaza hotel, we were also lucky enough to try its range of Spring Racing cocktails and its ever evolving Irresistible menu.

Because it reminded him of fond memories of a mild English summer, the Lawyer ordered one of the Spring Racing cocktails - the Pimms Spring Cup.  A traditional style Pimms mixed with lemonade, ginger ale, garnished with lots of fruit (chunky wedges of oranges, limes, lemons and strawberries).   It's a light, refreshing and fruity cocktail that would suit those who prefer a less alcoholic cocktail.

We were treated to a tasting platter of some of the Irresistible dishes, as chosen by Executive Chef Ketan Seth.  

These cute coastal hapuka sliders were impressive - I loved the meaty chunk of the firm hapuka that was served with snow pea tendrils and caper mayo.  

The fried 'Hojiblanca' stuffed olives were very morish and my favourite.  The plump green olives were destoned and filled with a creamy centre and encased in a thin, crunchy crust.  The chive and feta aioli was thick and rich and gave the olives an extra luxeness to them.  Great with a drink!

I loved the smoky flavour from the char-grilled chicken satays with the aromatic peanut sauce.

Amazing was how the Lawyer described the crispy pulled pork belly.  Served like a san choi bao, the filling was a sizeable orb of tender strands of pork belly which had then been deep fried so that it had a delightful crispy crust.  The added deliciousness of the pork belly came from the sweet and sticky honey ginger glaze on top.  It was served with lettuce and spring onions, which gave a textural and refreshing contrast to the pork.  This is also Executive Chef Ketan's favourite dish.

The crispy, sweet, salty and chilli school prawns were served with aioli.  You could easily polish this off as they're small and oh so tasty.

And the chunky sweet potato chips makes a welcoming alternative to potato chips.

Now for the burgers - definitely these are the biggest burgers I've had ever eaten!  With a regular staple (or should I say, stable?) of seven magnificent burgers, throughout the year, Harry's also has specialty burgers on offer.  

Its Spring Carnival burger is an impressive burger to behold - the 100% grilled striploin patty was pretty near perfect - definitely it's made from proper steak (not a hint of gristle) and quite hefty in size.  It's served well done, however, I would have preferred it to be medium-well. The other toppings are equally generous - thick slices of avocado, Cabernet glazed mushrooms (I quite liked how you could actually taste the red wine), tasty cheese, lots of fresh rocket, tomatoes and herbed mayo.  It is served with chips.  

The Aussie burger is one of the Magnificent Seven burgers.  This was my favourite of the two burgers as it had all my favourite burger toppings.  Along with salad, cheese, mayo and salsa, the beef patty was topped with caramelised onions, a fried egg, grilled pineapple and rashers of streaky bacon - yum!  It's serious hard work to eat the burger as it's so big to get your hands and mouth around it. 

I got a glass of juice with my burger, while the Lawyer decided to stick to his cocktail.

Food - 8.5
Ambiance - 7
Service - 8.5
Price - 7.5 for the Irresistible menu; 8.5 for the burgers
*Scores are notional as we were guests of Harry's Restaurant.

Harry's Restaurant consistently delivers with well executed, high quality dishes.  The Irresistible menu is aptly named as it offers a diverse range of cuisines made with fresh ingredients to tempt you try one or two small plates or indulge in any combination of the small, large and specialty dishes.

The burgers are really great value.  The Spring Carnival burger is only available for a limited time.  For $22 you get the burger, chips and glass of bubbly.  Even greater value are the Magnificent Seven burger range.  At lunch time, you can get any of the burgers, with chips and drink (including house wine and tap beer) for $15 - definitely a competitive offer for those buying lunch during the work week considering that a burger sans chips and drinks at most upmarket burger franchises will cost you the same amount.

Service is friendly, attentive and prompt.

Harry's Restaurant
Stamford Plaza Hotel
111 Lt Collins St
Melbourne 3000
Telephone: 9659 1592

Harry's Cafe on Urbanspoon

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