164 Rathdowne Street
Carlton, VIC 3053
A 9-course tapas feast for $39 called ‘Feed Me’? Cure Bar and Eatery knows the way to my heart.
Located in a relatively quiet section of suburban Carlton, Cure Bar and Eatery is a small, vintage-styled tapas and whiskey bar that seems to be a regular haunt for the locals. Chris had just finished his final uni exam (ever!), and we were here for a cosy and low-key celebration.
We started off with some House-Marinated Olives. Steeped in a mixture of herbs and citrus rinds, these plump olives were rich and aromatic.
Next up were little mouthfuls of Jamon with Parmesan, served on cheesy puffs. Though simple, the combination of soft, fatty cured pork and sweet parmesan is an ageless pairing.
The Porcini Mushroom Pate was cool and loamy, its rich and earthy flavour pairing addictively with the sourdough crostini.
The Celeriac and Cheese Croquette was a lighter affair compared to the usual ooey gooey cheese and potato parcels, but it tasted just as good. The outside was crunchy and indulgent, whilst the middle was smooth and creamy, with a subtle caramelised aroma from the leek.
On the other hand, I wasn’t so sure about the Zucchini Cumin & Coriander Fritters. Although the zucchini filling was fresh and sweet, the excessive usage of cumin was overpowering. Instead of being complementary, the zucchini and cumin ended up bringing out the worst in each other, leaving the fritter tasting simultaneously bland and over-seasoned.
The Chilli Glazed Lamb Ribs were delicious. Even though it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, sticky and fatty lamb ribs are pretty hard to beat. These were dressed simply with a sweet glaze, and just a sprinkling of fresh chilli and mint to make it pop.
The 24-Hour Pork Shoulder was less exciting. The medallions of pork were definitely much too dry, though it was somewhat remedied by the fragrant artichoke puree, and the tiles of golden crackling.
It was pretty hard to go wrong with the Crispy Gnocchi with Sage Butter and Truffle. Salty, crispy, and creamy, this is drinking food at its best.
Our final course was the Smoked Beef Brisket, served with a side of chilli broccoli.
Spice-rubbed in true American style, these pull-apart slabs of brisket were smoky and indulgent. The salad and gratin however I wasn’t so keen on, as they were both rather bland and tasteless, but the beef was good enough (and we were full enough) for it not to matter.
If I had to describe Cure bar and Eatery in one word, it would be comfortable. There is nothing groundbreaking about it; it is happy being the local bar that feels like a second home, serving up simple and tasty food for those nights where cooking dinner just feels like too much.