23 Aug Pablo Honey, St Kilda
One of my favourite new discoveries of the year, Pablo Honey is now just into its fourth menu change, keeping to its promise of seasonality. The atmosphere is as warm as ever, and I settle into dinner with a Pablo Orgasm, a cocktail made up of Baileys, Kahlua, Amaretto, cream and a Tim Tam for a bit of fun. This is not as sweet as it may appear to be, despite all the cream, hundreds and thousands and chocolate biscuit on top. Sometimes I feel like more of a refreshing drink, and other times I yearn for something richer. This cocktail suits the latter quite well.
Dinner begins with a bang when the fundido arrives. The cheese sauce is not as thick and intense as its pure cheese Swiss counterpart, due to its inclusion of a meat sauce. The fundido has a savoury element from the spicy chorizo and onion, and dipping in with the hickory corn chips is both fun and lip-smackingly satisfying. We were left trying to scrape up every last bit.
One of the new dishes on the spring menu is the BBQ Chilli Lime Lamb Neck. The lamb is fatty and tender, and the Jalapeño mint pebre helps cuts through it. Black bean chipotle hommus adds an extra little punch of chilli. The Chargrilled Wallaby comes with a thick Guindilla chilli paste, charred leeks and salbitxada. Eaten together with a sweet, and also slightly bitter red gel, it’s an intriguing and tasty flavour sensation.
Much of the spring menu is meat-based, but there are still the Spring Bay mussels paired with salty jamon, aji amarillo butter and coriander. The broth is a tad salty, but is still complex and rich. BBQ Beef Asado Ribs are chosen as the large share plate. The ribs have a good chilli kick, a tasty charred exterior, and meat that almost melts in the mouth. The decadent mouth-feel of this cut is offset by a vibrant chimichurri, and also tamed with a stack of polenta chips on the side.
To balance out all the meat we’ve been eating we also have the Grilled Baby Zucchini, which turns out to be one of our favourite dishes. The zucchini flowers are crunchy without being oily, and its pairing with garlic stems makes for a good combination. Lemon rind and manchego cheese add a bit more sharpness and lift.
We end with the Burnt Orange Creme Catalan with creme friache and confit citrus fruit. The creme catalan has a nice crust that cracks with the tap of a spoon, and when all the elements are eaten together, there’s a nice balance of sweet and sour flavours.
Many months on from its opening, Pablo Honey still has it in the bag. The interesting cocktail list, and mixture of both delicate and heartier dishes with well-thought out flavours makes it an appealing dining destination.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Pablo Honey as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time.
68 Acland St
St Kilda, VIC, 3182
(03) 9534 3246