Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Whatever floats your boat

People are always going to have different goals and do things differently. I think the key is then understanding and accepting that different things will float different boats, and then managing that swell and navigation accordingly. The recent seemingly non-stop rain, for example, isn't my cup of tea, but if I'm indoors with lots of gelato in front of me - well, I can be managed.

On one of those on-off-on-off rainy nights, we're headed to the bistro that's jetty-side at the St George Motor Boat Club. The view of vessels large and small on the endless water is quite pleasant if not envy provoking, though the view from inside is obscured every 10 minutes or so by the pelting rain.

The Captain's Grill is the bistro beside the bar area where Keno screens flash alongside rather dated pop tunes and mature dancers. Actually, they look like they're having a lot of fun and I'm sure I remember dancing to that one song 15 years ago.

Garlic bread from The Captain's Grill, St George Motor Boat Club,
Wellington Street, San Souci

We're there to try a pretty incredible sounding $30 lobster menu. That's $30 for not only half a mornay lobster, but an entree and dessert too. It did sound too good to be true, but there's really only one way to test that theory. Beers can be self-fetched from the nearby bar, which we find marginally cheaper than being brought schooners.

Separately, we order garlic bread, which is one of those childhood food items I remember probably from eating at Pizza Hut - if it wasn't sickeningly yellow and soggy with butter, it wasn't really garlic bread to me. This is right down the childhood alley, a bit salty, not quite toasted enough for my liking but the halved rolls are oozingly buttery, which wins some points back.

Calamari with tartare sauce

There are three entree choices on the lobster menu, and four of five go for the calamari. While its a generous serve of crumbed, deep-fried rings of squid, the dish just looks sparse, especially beside its little plastic tub of green-tinged tartare sauce. The calamari is, however, satisfyingly tender but with a bit of chew to let you know that it's real squid and not random seafood-flavoured mince.

Caesar salad

My Caesar salad is also a surprisingly hefty serve, appreciated with the option of leaving out anchovies. It's covered in parmesan cheese and loads of smoky, chewy bits of bacon dotted through the cos lettuce. There's just enough dressing for flavour and non-sogginess, I'm quite impressed though quite close to full afterwards.

Half lobster mornay with cheese

And then with mains come the piece de resistance - the lobster of the title lobster special. The half is served with mornay sauce then grilled with cheese. I admit I'm not too sure what to expect, as with the price tag come certain expectations. I find that I need to rescue drowning pre-cut pieces of red-skinned lobster flesh from within the shell - drowning in the not necessarily creamy but rich mornay sauce. Some pieces are really firm while others are a little mushy, and the cheese is particularly strong. The half shell is garnished with about three rocket leaves, while another plate has the rocket plus a sprig of flat leaf parsley. Someone's special.

Grilled fish with crushed almonds, coriander and ginger

The one of five opting for something other than lobster lands the grilled fish. A rather non-descript fillet of white fish arrives covered in a chopped almond topping, aside a lime wedge and few leaves of rocket. The fish is unexciting and completely overwhelmed by the ginger scented almond topping which reaches a point of sweetness that resembles toffee.

Caramel panna cotta with sticky dates and almonds

On sweets, there are two choices; one being the caramel panna cotta which is so perfectly stretchy and wobbly that it could have come out of a supermarket fridge. Its caramelly sweetness is somewhat less than that of the almond topping on the fish, and is partnered awkwardly with the waffle biscuit.

Gelato selection

An excessively generous serve of gelato ends my meal - I didn't realise there was such thing before. I'd chosen hazelnut (my favourite), roasted almond (pretty darn good) and Tahitian lime (non-dairy and pinchingly tart). I manage the two nutty flavours with decent speed and no gelato brain, but feel a bit lethargic when I get to the lime.

Leaving the last scoop in its quaint metal dish, and the bistro, into the muggy but not rainy evening turned out to be a clever idea - ensuring that I might have a chance of floating if I fell off any boat.

The Captain's Grill on Urbanspoon

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