Gasworks, 76 Skyring Tce, Newstead
Hunting for a fun place to eat and drink on a Monday night poses the same sort of challenges as trying to dine out on a public holiday. A whole bunch of venues I looked up were closed. Through some poor planning, I thought Tippler's Tap was open so Hien and I drove to Newstead only to find the whole street absolutely deserted. Because the Gasworks complex was just a short stroll away, I suggested we eat there instead.
I had been to the Garden City location of Hatch and Co previously with Kat and we both loved it. Interestingly, most people I mentioned this to claimed the Newstead original was even better. Needless to say I was excited to see for myself. I hadn't been to Gasworks at night and it's actually got a really nice feel to it. Quite a few restaurants were open on Monday night but most were very empty compared to Hatch and Co. I was worried we wouldn't even get a table without a booking but we were accommodated for without dramas.
To Kill Her - Herradura Blanco, Cointreau, lime juice, grapefruit juice and sugar syrup
Because it had been a hard week of working (not really, only Monday ;p), I needed a cocktail to wind down. I asked for a recommendation and was told the tequila-based 'To Kill Her' was very popular at the moment. It arrived in a tall glass with an interesting chili salt rim that reminded me of Burger Rings (which is awesome). The cocktail itself moderately strong with refreshing citrus notes. It was very drinkable.
The menu comprises of shareable small plates, pizzas, pastas and individual mains. There is also a section of large shared roast meals. Hien was eyeing these off before I convinced him it would be too much food for us. We ended up getting a whole bunch of small plates instead, which probably came close to one big shared meal anyway.
I was impressed with how quickly the food was brought out. Sometimes I'm wary because if the speed is suspiciously unachievable because one can't help but wonder if the food is made to order. At Hatch and Co, each dish was evidently fresh. This was most noticeable with the deep fried dishes that came to us so hot they burnt our eager fingers.
Chilli and fennel seed fried calamari with tomato chilli jam
The first item I sampled was the chilli and fennel seed calamari. Deeeelicious! I know that fried calamari is a menu classic but I don't usually order it because too often, it's a major disappointment. I'm talking about rubbery texture, crunchless batter, sogginess, no flavour, the list goes on. None of that applied here. Hatch and Co delivered calamari as it should be. Each tendril was soft and giving, having been just cooked to perfection. The crumb coating was seasoned with interesting pops of spice that went perfectly with the sweet chilli jam.
Parmesan and herb crumbed lamb with lemon mayonnaise
I next tried the parmesan crusted lamb. These were also fresh and crunchy and very, very flavoursome. Just picture chicken nuggets, but with lamb, which is much more original and interesting. They were surprisingly filling too but I managed to down two. These were served with a smear of creamy lemon mayonnaise that acted as an ideal compliment.
Chips with chilli salt and aioli
My favourite element of the meal we had at Hatch and Co Garden City location was the chilli salt chips. They were so good I was more than happy to order them again. These chips absolutely lived up to my memory of them. As with the previous fried dishes, they were super hot and crunchy. We scooped up the aioli in giant dollops. The aioli was so good it was practically drinkable. I promised myself to go low carb and just have a few chips and suffice to say by the end of the night, that promise was long broken.
Ginger, chili and honey glazed chicken wings
I'm not a huge fan of wings, probably because as someone with braces, anything that needs teeth to pull apart is asking for embarrassment. I put all notions of shame aside and pulled one wing apart to try it. The wings had a nice sweet and salty glaze that gave them an element of stickiness critical for finger-licking tastiness. It was pretty good but not my favourite of the night.
King prawns, avocado, cucumber, witlof, lemon and chives
We thought about ordering a salad to balance our meal a bit but Hien pointed out that the prawn salad was sort of a 'salad' so we counted that as our dose of veggies. It was our one cold dish and nicely contrasted the rest of our meal by introducing some freshness. The prawns themselves were incredibly juicy and sweet. There was also a generous number of prawns, which is an improvement on some other wannabe restaurants who present a measly 1-2 prawns and claim it a 'prawn dish'. I liked the prawns best together with the creamy avocado and bitter baby witlof leaves. It's such a winning combination.
Our dinner at Hatch and Co, Newstead was perfect in every way. I can see why this venue stands out in the area as the most popular. It provides the kind of good service and moreish, tasty dishes that bring people back time and time again. I can vouch from my previous meal at Hatch and Co that their pizza and desserts are fantastic to. I've yet to taste anything below excellent and with quality like this, I'm sure these guys are here to stay.