Dining Review · Melbourne · Modern Australian

Hare & Grace

One of the nice things about living abroad is that when friends or family from your home country visit, it is an excuse to meet up and bring them around. And it’s especially nice when these are people you won’t meet or even talk to very often when you’re in the home country itself.

Speaking as a Singaporean, I guess we are quite a reserved people aren’t we? But plop us on an airplane and bring us somewhere faraway and all guard is let down, and suddenly, we are a lot more sociable, haha!

Anyway, by the powers of Facebook, I found out that a high school friend, Ms Zq was in Melbourne for a holiday. I left a comment on her photo and before we knew it, we were arranging to meet up for dinner, the next day! Whoa – talk about the efficiency of social media eh?

I rounded up my other high school friends, Ms TY and Ms YY (I’m sure you all are familiar with them by now!) and Ms Zq said that she’ll be bringing her fellow travel buddy along. I thought Modern Australian would be a good cuisine for our visiting friends so that’s how the 5 of us ended up at Hare & Grace one wet winter night…

The setting is all tropical but it was all cold & wintry outside brrr...
The setting is all tropical but it was all cold & wintry outside brrr…

As it turned out, Ms Zq’s travel buddy was none other than Alexis, a Singaporean food blogger! So not only did this night turn out to be a gathering to catch up with old friends, but also to garner food-blogging tips from a new friend – how eventful!

Bread & lovely butter to start up with
Bread & lovely butter to start off with

Ms Zq also chanced upon the $1 South Melbourne oysters and was still craving for them. So guess what ended up on our table?

DSCN3985

Yea the oysters were fresh, but didn't taste very much different to the South Melbourne ones!
The oysters were fresh, but didn’t taste very much different to the South Melbourne ones!

Of course as food bloggers (and foodies), we like to cast our net wide at restaurants so we easily agreed to share our dishes. And at Hare & Grace, you can’t go pass the steaks so we went for the biggest steak to share…

Of course, we shared this hunk of meat!
The 400gm rib-eye ($48) it was!
Check out the pinky beauty of the meat. The waiter will come round and ask for ur choice of mustard too
Check out the pinky beauty of the meat. The waiter will come round and ask for your choice of mustard too.

We had no complaints with the steak – slightly charred on the outside, juicy in the middle, and just divine when paired with the red wine jus and mustard. I reckon it’s pretty good value as well!

Duck L'Orange - $55
Duck L’Orange – $55

I was quite pleased with the duck as well. The skin was nicely crisped and the middle had that tinge of pink. The orange sauce was also not overly sweet. So far, the meats have all been impressive!

Roasted Salmon - $39
Roasted Salmon – $39

Ms YY had this for herself – she quite enjoyed it so I guess fish is done well at this place too 🙂

Okay, this is the embarrassing part where we went overboard with the potatoes…

Firstly, as usual, Ms YY & I couldn't go past the roast potatoes ($10)....
Firstly, as usual, Ms YY & I couldn’t go past the roast potatoes ($10)….
...While Alexis wanted to try the Mash & Gravy ($11)...
…while Alexis wanted to try the Mash & Gravy ($11)…
...and we ordered those side dishes without realising our steak came with fries too!
…and we ordered those side dishes without realising our steak came with fries too!

Whoops a little carby overload eh? But I guess we can now give an overview of the 3 potato dishes! We found the Roast Potatoes a tad too salty and we all enjoyed the Mash & Gravy with the chicken gravy. The stringy fries hit the mark as well – golden crisp and fluffy inside.

So if you have to choose between the Roast Potatoes or Mash & Gravy, go for the Mash!

A gathering for old & new friends
A gathering for old & new friends

Although we initially wanted to check out another place for dessert, we felt too comfortable in our seats and thought since it was getting late and it was cold outside, we would just stay in for desserts.

Hmm what to have for dessert...
Hmm what to have for dessert…

I was a little disappointed that the famous Stick n Stones was not on the menu. Anyway, I was all for a conventional dessert and the rest convinced me to go with a not-so-conventional one too…

Pave of Chocolate
Pave of Chocolate (photo credit: Alexis Cheong)

I’m glad I wasn’t the only one taking photos that night (as I usually am). Turns out my photo of this dessert was really dark and blurred and I had to ask Alexis if she could send me her photo – Thanks Alexis!

Anyway, as with this dessert, the combination of ingredients sounded right and it tasted well together too – chocolate and milk, how can you go wrong? We especially enjoyed the Triple Milk Sorbet – creamy, milky and vanilla-ish all at the same time!

Poached Ruby Quince
Poached Ruby Quince, Pomegranate Jelly, Szechuan Pepper Ice Cream, Puffed Spelt

So we ordered this to get in touch with our adventurous side – how does quince taste like? It’s not everyday you spy pomegranate offered in jelly form and mostly, how does Szechuan Pepper Ice Cream taste like??

Unfortunately, as pretty as the presentation is and as intriguing as the dessert sounds, I would have to say that it was quite a letdown. The quince was bitter, the pomegranate jelly was sour and they didn’t fit into the sweet theme of a dessert. Strangely, the Szechuan Pepper Ice Cream was subtle and it did hold a good balance of the strong spice and it tasted all right. However, overall, I thought the combination didn’t make it a very pleasant dessert.

Aside from the disappointing end to our meal, I would say that Hare & Grace does a good steak and offers great mains. I would still recommend this place for someone looking for a reasonably-priced and decent Modern Australian restaurant in the city – just might have to be careful with the dessert choices!

Hare & Grace on Urbanspoon

And yes, although we may not have ended on a sweet note literally, it was still a cosy and fun night with the girls. The dessert hardly spoiled our night as it was the company that mattered more – who would’ve known that so many years after high school, we would still be able to catch up over a meal, in a foreign place?

And that I guess, makes the night really worthwhile and special, more than the food itself eh? 😉

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