June 12, 2012

798 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn
Lulo was the destination of an impromptu tapas dinner that I had with my mum a few weeks ago. Not only is the food excellent by Hawthorn standards, I’d rate the food at Lulo as up there with MoVida and bar Lourinha, so you can be assured you’re in for a pretty good night by booking a table here.

The space is modern and simply decorated with red accents; you can start off perched at the bar and order one of their brilliant sangrias before moving to your table. The staff are friendly and enthusiastic about both the imported wines and the food; we decided to share a mixture of tapas and some larger dishes.

I had a lovely crisp glass of rose from somewhere in the country on the right, which the sommelier raved about. Sometimes I feel like bad rose is created by a wine maker holding red in one hand and white in the other, then shrugging in an apathetic way before sloshing them together haphazardly. But surely there’s a more legit way of making rose from scratch, right?

A pair of criss-crossed zucchini flowers started off the tapas selection; they were lightly fried and slightly sweet, stuffed with a tangy mix of three Spanish cheeses (blue, goats and manchego).

The flowers were followed by spoons of sous vide spanner crab, avocado, pickled garlic, avruga caviar and lemon air. I’m not a fan of airs, to be honest, but that fresh and tangy mix was brilliant, especially the pops of saltiness from the caviar.

I went a bit nuts photographing these cured tuna pieces, but seriously, how photogenic are they?

Tuna is such a brilliant fish, I love its glistening pink hue and meaty, almost fatty taste. These cubes of yellowfin had been cured with Sherry Fino and skewered along with chili and pickled vegetables. The sour vegies perfectly offset the thick cubes of tuna, and the chili oil provided just the right amount of heat.

We also had a couple of black angus mini burgers with duck jamon, aioli and pickled chili (drool). These little morsels were all salty-sour and very delicious. They came with impressively thin chips and more aioli. Tell me, am I the only person tempted to eat aioli by the spoonful whenever it appears in front of me?

From the selction of larger dishes we chose a beautiful plate of lamb cutlets stuffed with chorizo and topped with chimi churri, all sitting on a smear of smoked eggplant. These were so, so good, possibly my favourite from the night along with the tuna. The eggplant had an intense smokiness to it, and I enjoyed the paprika and cumin from the chorizo and chimi churri, which married well with the perfectly pink lamb.

A side salad of roasted heirloom carrots with almonds, mojo, muscatels and pomegranate went well with the lamb. Really goddamn tasty; you got a lot of heat from the sauce but then a pop of fruitiness from the pomegranate.

Ok, to be honest I was pretty much full by the time the lamb came around, so this final dish was overkill. I feel like that was something the waitress should have picked up on when taking our order. Regardless, the pork was soft but was ruined by a crackling that was far, far too salty (this coming from a girl who really likes her salt). We didn’t touch most of this, but took it home instead, sliced off the crackling and sandwiched the pork into some bread with a bit of mustard. Delish.

As an aside, ever wonder about tipping? How much should you tip for a waiter? How about a sommelier? That cute guy who shakes your martini? has put together a funky website guide that’s easy to navigate and helps you calculate tips for various services. Rather handy, and one I will certainly be referring to in the future!

Lulo on Urbanspoon

Filed under: Hawthorn, Spanish