Bang Bang at the Rifle Club
7.5/10 on Thursday 15 March 2018.
The Walrus: Heading south! So far south we had to get the train (which is a novelty for us). Got off at Elsternwick station and tottled up to Bang Bang at the Rifle Club. New and fresh, the inside of the venue was quite well set out. We headed out to our table on the patio...
The Carpenter: A long trek into Elsternwick to the quaint downtown - Bang Bang at the Rifle Club (let's just go with Bang Bang, although there are a few of them around) has a distinctly family friendly vibe. Open onto the green centre of town we sat in a light and airy screened in porch with a few other young families. a step out of the luxurious I was left wondering if the food would meet our usual standards - certainly there wasn't any lack of bright light for the visual examination!
W: . With an obvious South East Asian theme going on, we dispensed with the usual standard measure of an establishment (their Martini) and opted the Plymoth Gin, lychee and ginger cocktail that was a cracking start to the evening. 9/10
C: In the spirit of the theme we strayed from the martini path and had a Lychee & Lemongrass - the Bang Bang version of a martini with lemongrass infused plymouth gin ,lychee and ginger. It was a beautfifully balanced opener. 9/10
W: Sharing dishes were the go-to to kick things off. Salt and pepper squid which was very nice, tender and tasty. Some grilled sweetcorn with butter. Crispy chicken ribs next and they were quite tasty. The best starting plate was the duck liver pate.....it came in a deep pot with a layer of set lard on top about 1cm thick and was probably the nicest duck liver pate I have EVER had...highly recommend this one . 8.5/10
C: We chose a few dishes from the menu - clearly designed to be shared. Crispy chicken ribs were delicious with a nice lemongrass caramel. Just right. Salt & pepper squid - not normally a viable choice for me but the Walrus insisted. Nice and tender. Well crumbed. And the roasted shallot dressing was yum. Char Grilled sweetcorn was exactly that. And very tasty. Another delicious side sauce the Sriracha sauce and sesame hit the right note again. So of the three "snacks" they were all right on track. 8/10
W: We then tucked into some Salted Pork Belly. Unfortunately, this dish suffered from the same thing I have been getting at more venues of late....no depth of flavour from the pork! Also, the pork was a bit dry which contributed further to the lack of flavour. We then tucked into the twice cooked duck. Again, not bad but not great. Different parts of the duck had cooked at different rates, so I had to dig around to get a tasty piece that had been cooked correctly. If you are going to have pork belly and duck on the menu that is Asian themed, at least go over to Asia for a holiday and see how it should be done! 6/10
C: We're still in tasting dish territory with a few choices from the "Small Shares" and "Large Shares" menu. First, the duck liver pate was near perfect. Just subtle flavours, beautifully matched with a housemade pickle and a charred baguette. An outstanding dish. Next the Salted pork belly - served with a very tasty mint and coriander jus. Sadly the pork was a bit dry, other than that the flavours were great. Then the twice cooked half duck. the Tamarind roasted rice dressing overpowered the duck and I quickly discovered there were parts of the duck that on their own were outstanding. Discovered a little too late sadly. 7/10
W: Black sticky rice with pandam sweet ice cream and mango sorbet was just as the label said. Not overly sweet and the mango sorbet was a good counterpoint to the sticky rich rice....not a bad effort. 8/10
C: Lamington crepes. Could have been a disaster but this was a delicious dessert. A chocolate crepe around a parfait and balanced with a coconut icecream. It was a very healthy serve and the taste was just wonderful. 9/10
W: A . Negroni to finish off that had some summery thematic. Quite refreshing but not very innovative. 7/10
C: We closed with a Summertime Negroni - another thematically styled cocktail with lovely flavour balance. 9/10
W: Service was good. Staff were friendly and attentive. 9/10
C: Great service - great pairings (Pinot Gris) with the meal that all worked exceptionally well. No complaints at all. 9/10
W: They deliver on their promise. Is it what we normally look for and enjoy? No. But that is not the fault of the venue, more a function of me selecting poorly. If you live in the area and are after a quick weekday casual dinner or a long boozy lunch with friends on a weekend, then its a great venue. The innovation we seek is more likely found elsewhere. However, the one standout is the duck liver pate. It was inspiring. If that is your passion, then its worth dropping in and trying. 7/10
C: I was initially skeptical of the "family diner" feel and the touristy Bali-esque theme but the food was packed with flavour in the many and varied sauces added to underlying tasty bases. All the serves were healthy sizes and we left full and happy. 8/10
W: Thought I would test run The Banker....G&T with ruby red grapefruit. Very nice way to finish off the evening (though I cant score them highly for it as I had to explain the cocktail). 7.5/10
C: The Walrus brought along a memory from Chinese new year of a drink he called The Banker - actually just a G&T with a twist of red grapefruit. Nothing wrong with a G&T to close the night. 9/10
W: Uber ride home...full stomach...just enough to drink.
C: One of the longest treks home but without a hitch in the Uber. Made good use of the two stop function which I appear to have finally mastered.