It was tricky finding a table anywhere at no notice on our first night in Melbourne, and Lover on Chapel St (the same street where I accidentally bit my partner’s finger at a hot dog restaurant, the now closed Massive Wieners, in 2017) was essentially one of our only options.
I had this meal in a par-cooked state having been awake the previous 36 hours working an intensive care night shift, travelling interstate and sleep-watching through an Aaron Chen comedy gig (my apologies to Mr Chen who, if his set is to believed, lives in the same inner-South-West suburb as me), so I can’t make any real promises about the reproducibility of my findings, and your mileage may vary depending on your level of consciousness.
These fried sweet corn ($10) riblets were great and well priced. The corn was buttery, moist, and well flavoured with lime and chilli, with the chipotle mayo was a good dip pairing. I have only good thoughts about this.
The albacore tuna skewers ($12) were less fantastic, though I think that may be due to the raw fish used rather than any fault of the restaurant itself. I found the albacore tuna to have an unfortunately starchy quality, which perhaps betrays my preference for bluefin in all uses of the fish. The sauce was however sweet and good.
These beef rump skewers ($14) were quite good. The meat was both juicy and tender with minimal charring on the outside, and the apple salad was crisp, fresh, and delicious. The red sauce that this was served alongside was very spicy and fruity, and while it was nice I would’ve been equally happy without it (this opinion may have been different if I had had more than one skewer to myself).
This is the beef crudo ($24) with cured egg yolk and masa. The beef of this beef was cut into huge chunks, which made it a bit weird as I felt like I had to work hard and chew to be rewarded with the flavour inside (which was good). The masa corn chips were very good, extremely thick and well flavoured. They had top tier structural integrity, with crispiness that lasted throughout the duration of the dish, and even though they were designed as a vessel for the meat, they clearly transcended this simple task.
This barramundi ($38) that’s since left the menu was our only main and final course of the night. This was a relatively large piece of barramundi, pan-seared in the traditional sense with a too-hard crispy skin that I thought detracted from the experience. That said, I very much enjoyed the flavour of the cream that the fish was served upon, as well as that of the fried streaks of allium with their strong umami taste and the combination of these flavours with the fish’s flesh. The leek I felt was a bit overplayed, used as a vegetable rather than a condiment, and I feel that all but the world’s greatest leek fans would feel too leaked out by the end of this dish.
This is either the Call Me Maybe ($24) or Melony ($22). I don’t know. I don’t really drink any more.
Pretty good, honestly. Some things were better than others, and by the time this is published all of the things I didn’t like have fallen off their menu and replaced by unknowns, while the things that I liked have remained. Perhaps the next iteration will be even better!
60 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181
(03) 9510 6655