I threatened to boycott my work team’s Christmas lunch last year.
My manager told me he was going to book us into The China Bar. Which while very convenient as it is right next door, it really isn’t that great (though clearly the hundreds of people packing in each day for lunch disagree with me). I thought we could get better value for our money somewhere else and when my manager asked me if I had any suggestions I didn’t hesitate in recommending The Black Toro in Glen Waverley.
J and I had already dined there twice for dinner and I have recommended it to many other people who have all enjoyed it.
Luckily my manager trusted me and a week before Christmas we headed down Springvale road, and amazingly found a carpark straight away (possibly a Christmas miracle).
We were seated at the back of the restaurant, with a group of 30 people commandeering most of the front space.
I would have been happy recommending lots of the dishes on the poco plates menu but with six of us I quickly realised that doing the set menu was going to be a better idea. The set menu ($45pp) includes 5-6 dishes from the poco plates section and then 2-3 dishes from the grande plates section plus some sides. Hand over $60pp and you will also get a dessert platter. When we asked what was included in the set menu, we were told that the chef makes it up as he goes along. OK, all good, let’s see what happens.
We started with oysters with tequila and lime.
Then there was the grilled corn on the cob with chipotle mayonnaise and toasted masa.
I am not a corn fan so only had a bite to try it. The sauce was great though and there was much talk about the quality of the corn (very good) and how we could replicate the sauce at home.
As it was Christmas, drinks were ordered (I just hope our boss didn’t expect any work from us when we got back…)
I had a cosmopolitan. Beers and margaritas were ordered by others.
Our next dish was a new one on the menu and was cubed kingfish with melon, cucumber and prawn flavoured crispy bits.
I am not a fish person and didn’t think the cubes of kingfish worked, I would have preferred something not as chunky.
The kingfish was served with a pickled baby beetroot, goats cheese, quinoa and caperberries salad.
This was a winner, even with those who aren’t big beetroot fans.
Our last entree was the Wagyu beef sliders with onion, tomatillo relish and jack cheese.
I have had these twice before. The first time they were excellent but the second time they were dry and lacked flavour (I didn’t blog our second visit), but these ones were almost back to the high standard of our first visit. Though some didn’t like the brioche bread and found it too filling when having so many dishes.
The first main dish was the baby chicken, similar to a dish I had enjoyed previously.
The second main was slow cooked pork belly with chickpeas, chorizo and tomato.
Two side dishes were also served, one was a coleslaw.
And the other was triple cooked potatoes, paprika salt, garlic aioli.
The pork and chicken were both really good, as were the sides. I especially liked the potatoes, so crispy on the outside but fluffy on the inside.
While the food was great, the service was slow. I had to ask twice for a glass of wine and we had to constantly request our water glasses be filled up.
Two of my team mates hadn’t had this kind of food before and both said how much they liked it and that they would return.
Despite the service, I too would go back. I love having something like The Black Toro so close to both work and home.