The Black Toro

Every Father's Day, my family and I go to a restaurant somewhere in the city, in the hopes of being treated to something exquisite and fancy and of movie-like quality. Unfortunately, none of them ever measured up to my expectations and I often felt like I did not receive my money's worth of food. Well, I can safely say that this Father's Day 2013, things have finally changed for the better.

I first came across this modest little number, hidden in the suburb of Glen Waverley, while I was reading an article on Broadsheet Melbourne about the latest Peanut Butter dessert craze taking Melbourne by storm. Anyone who knows me well enough, knows that peanut butter and I go together like cookies and cream, bees and honey, bonnie and get the picture. So, after reading the article, I knew I would have to try this dessert if it was the last thing I ever did... and quickly. 

The Father's Day special was the banquet menu consisting of several Poco (little) dishes and sides, and one Grande (big) dish at $45 per person. Being a Spanish/Mexican cuisine newbie, I had no particular cravings for anything and was open to having a little of something - so, as usual, this was the perfect kind of menu for me.

Dish #1
Potato and cheese empanada with sweet corn puree and soft herbs 
The first dish of the night was three little golden empanadas on a stone plate. With a crunchy exterior, and a soft melt-in-your-mouth mash interior, accompanied by a creamy sweet corn puree; this was the perfect start to the night to whet our appetites and leave us craving the next dish.
 Dish #2
Hervey Bay scallops with pea puree, freeze dried corn and lemon
Dish #2 was a neatly presented scallop atop a vibrantly green and fluffy pea puree, sprinkled with frozen corn kernels and lemon juice - my first time ever trying this seafood delicacy and I could not have asked for a better combination of new, and familiar flavours.

Dish #3
Pickled beetroot salad, whipped goats cheese, puffed quinoa & caperberries
Last year, I had a really bad food experience involving beetroot - instead of receiving the spinach leaves with beetroot and feta salad I ordered, I got a plate full of mint leaves. It was nasty, and ever since then I have had a slight taste aversion to beetroot. Having said that, I was still willing to give this one a try. I loved the extra crunch the puffed quinao added to the dish; and the saltiness of the caperberries helped wash down the velvety rich beetroot flavour that had been plaguing my mind for too long.

Dish #4
Kingfish sashimi with orange, pressed apple, jicama & burnt agave nectar
Now I love sushi, but I am still a bit more reserved when it comes to eating the raw, uncooked sashimi. However, the little hints of citrus fruits sprinkled around this little number gave the dish a powerful, sweet overtone that was bordering the line of sickly sweet. It definitely wasn't my favourite; but nevertheless beautifully presented and another successful first-time experience for me.

 Dish #5
Spicy pulled pork taco, shredded cabbage & sour cream

  Dish #6
Wagyu beef slider with toasted brioche, pickled cucumber, cheese and ancho ketchup
Just when I was a beginning to get full, the real meals started coming out. The pulled pork was juicy and tender, as it should be, and it had the perfect balance of spicy Mexican flavours and cool, fresh sour cream - making each mouthful even more pleasurable than the last.
Meanwhile, the beef sliders were cooked to rare-medium perfection and were supported nicely by the puffy and crusty texture of the toasted brioche.

 Dish #7
Roasted whole chicken, mole poblano, charred lime, achiote rice
 After filling up on a menu made up of starters, we were finally served the grande dish - a whole chicken split between the three of us. As soon as the waitress placed the dish on our table, my nostrils were filled with the sweet, cocoa aroma of the mole poblano - a chilli sauce with a mixture of chocolate to counteract the heat of the chilli - an interesting combination indeed that sung to my senses and made the perfect accompaniment to the subtle tanginess of the cummin rice.

Deconstructed peanut butter cheesecake, chocolate ice-cream, and honeycomb
To top off this marvellous night of tastebud explosion and indulgence, we simply had to order this off the dessert menu. It was my main motive for coming here after all.
Can I just say that Garen Maskal is a contemporary peanut butter dessert genius? Presentation and flavour wise, there was absolutely no fault. At several times during the consumption of this dish (which lasted all of about 2 minutes), I kept switching between the lavish peanut butter cheesecake and velvety dark chocolate ice cream for fear of neglecting one flavour for the other. The crispy honeycomb bits gave a bit of crunchiness to the dish and was the cherry on top of a fantastic dessert.

Suffice it to say, I am so very grateful to have broken my tradition of opting for expensive, and frankly disappointing 'fine dining' restaurants of the CBD for special occasions. My skyhigh expectations for this dessert were most certainly met and I believe my experience at The Black Toro to have been worth every cent. Already planning my next trip here to try the Frozen Nutella parfait, broken tres leches cake, toasted meringue & banana!

The Black Toro 
79 Kingsway
Glen Waverley VIC 3150

The Black Toro on Urbanspoon


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