In Melbourne, a city full of food and obsessed by coffee, I cook, I eat, I share the good news and the bad. essjay eats

La Luna Bistro – Carlton

I’ve eaten at Adrian Richardson’s Carlton Institution many times, but I’ve only had the steak once before. I generally get tempted by the kid or the suckling pig well before I get to the steak list.

But, tonight I was on a mission, to eat steak. That doesn’t quite explain while all three of my companions also chose steak, but it did give us an idea of consistency across the table.

La Luna has forged a reputation in presenting good quality steak, aged on the premises, and an interesting range of house made charcuterie. They run offal nights fairly regularly and have great appeal to the Friday afternoon “steak & red” business-man brigade.

There were 7 starters on the menu, some house made sausages, soup and an interesting octopus salad, with one vegetarian option (double baked cheese soufflé – safe to say this is not a house that worships the vegans.) There were also specials of oysters from Coffin Bay and Quail.

The wine list here tends toward the boutique and interesting, and the martini’s are pretty darn good. We started with a Delatite 07 Riesling.

The “Hand-cured sliced meats, pickles, olives EVO and bread” ($20.50) really was designed to be shared, but this wasn’t mentioned when we ordered it and three other starters. So I didn’t *have* to share and I gobbled quite a bit of it up. There were several salami’s, some proscuitto, porcetta, ham some cornichon and sliced pickled onion, olives and toasted bread.

The “Smoked Salmon with brioche, apple cucumber and caper salad” ($18.50) was voted best entree the table for it’s salty, sweet, crunchy, dense, creamy tart combination.

Quail wrapped in house made pancetta with a salad that included hazelnuts and shredded cabbage and beetroot. Delicious.

We ordered 2 medium rare rumps and one medium, and one medium rare porterhouse ($38.50). The steaks are dry aged on the premises and come with mash and pepperonata. So – this is the main game, and I was a bit disappointed I’m afraid. The meat was good, but not as good as I have had elsewhere, including from my own butcher. Maybe I expected too much, but this is where their reputation was forged. The steaks were all cooked the same as far as I could tell. so either they didn’t want to cook one medium (not for me!), or they forgot.

We drank a bottle of Syrahmi 07 Shiraz on recommendation, and even though we were told that we could hand it back if we didn’t like it – we didn’t, and we didn’t. I think we just chose badly as we know it’s a subtle shiraz and probably not the best match for seriously beefy beef.

Deserts got a bit serious, with the non-drivers “tucking in” to a Desert Cocktail featuring coffee, vodka, tia maria and kahlua ($14.50)

Whilst I was under-whelmed by the vanilla creme brulee with sesame tuille ($14.50) which was smooth, but nothing really special and needed another flavour.

I love La Luna, but perhaps it needs a holiday and a refresh of it’s spirit, it felt a little bit lost this night.

(Apologies for the photo quality – I will adjust in due course)

La Luna Bistro
320 Rathdown Street
North Carlton Vic Australia

Ph +613 9349 4888


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