Dinner at The Cupping Room, apologies for the poor image quality, phone camera again.
I didn’t know The Cupping Room was open for dinner, thought they were just a brunch and brekkie joint. However, a couple of weeks ago, walking back from Hustle & Scout and dinner at Mocan and Green Grout we noticed that it was very much open and serving dinner! I haven’t had a chance to have breakfast at The Cupping Room yet and I’ve been intending too but it’s too cold to wake up before noon these days!
Anyways, we booked a table for Friday night, and as we walked in, they seemed to have ample table space so we probably could have just walked in too but we wanted to play it safe. The Cupping Room like many other brekkie and brunch joints that serves dinner is a sharing place, only difference – they serve South American inspired food!
For food we ended up getting four small sharing plates, one large sharing plate and a side. This was for five biggish eaters and we were actually full from this. It was definitely the large sharing late that took us over the line, the small plates were very snacky and honestly really quite…well small! While eating the small plates we were joking about grabbing Maccas afterwards but when we saw and started digging into the large share plate, it all changed.
Our first small sharing plate was the Queso fritto ($12), pan fried provolone, dried chilli, oregano and fresh lemon. Small but delicious! Didn’t even notice there was chilli on this dish until I looked at the description to type this up, definitely couldn’t taste any spiciness myself (good for me – I have a horribly low chilli threshold). The dish itself was really nice, a bit like an oregano pizza that you’ve drenched in lemon juice but also really creamy and it had that oven soft cheesy texture when biting into it.
Second small plate, Ceviche ($16) king prawns and scallops in lime juice, pineapple vinegar, coconut milk and fresh herbs, shaved radish, fennel salad and sweet potato. This was okay. I wasn’t expecting something like this, I got excited at the word ceviche and didn’t really read the rest of the description. Looking back at it, I guess it makes sense. It was a very watery dish, as you can see in the picture. Quite sour, most likely form the lime juice and pineapple vinegar. However, I didn’t find it very creamy at all. I wish there was more cream, would have helped cut through the sourness. The baked sweet potatoes were really nice, added sweetness to the dish and helped offset that sourness I keep going on about. The prawns were a little small, they were cut in half and there weren’t many to go around. Since they were so thin, they absorbed most of the lemon and vinegar sitting in the dish and just tasted like everything else that was already in there (I couldn’t say sour again). The scallops on the other hand were much better, nice, big and enough to have with the sweet potatoes, radish and other ingredients and still taste it. I think I would have preferred this dish more if it wasn’t as soupy (and in turn less sour). Whenever I see ceviche, I assume I’ll have a dish where I’ll really taste the fresh seafood instead of tasting the ingredients that are meant to support it.
Third small plate was the Tostados ($18) marinated chicken thigh, coriander and cashew pesto and mozzarella on a crisp corn tortilla topped with salsa and coriander. These little bite size chicken tostados full of different flavours. The chicken was most and tender and all the other stuff just worked to make it a great bite size treat. Also really liked the creaminess that the mozzarella and cashew pesto gave the chicken. We were scraping the board as the waiter was taking it away, even the cucumber and tomato was delicious from all that cheesy sauce.
Our final small plate was the Salchichas ($16) mixed Latin American sausages grilled with peppers and parsley on white bean puree in cider pimento sauce. This was an interesting little plate. There were three different sausages including a blood sausage (blood pudding). Most of us have never had blood sausages before, some have never even tried blood in food ever, which isn’t surprising since there aren’t that many foods in the world that call for blood as an ingredient. I can only think of two: blood jelly and blood pudding.
Anyway, the blood sausages were amazing, most of us were raving about it, telling others to try it (without knowing that it was blood) they were pretty surprised when someone brought it up. It tasted nothing like that metallic taste that usually comes with blood (if you’ve ever accidentally bit your tongue or lip and have tasted blood). This was flavoursome, deep, meaty with plenty of different spices. In hindsight I guess it’s not much a stretch to think that human blood and animal blood taste pretty different. The other sausages were nice too but the blood pudding really over shadowed everything else. Outside of the sausages, the rest of the dish was really nice too. The beans were soft and soaked through to the middle with a savoury spicy sauce. The mash also help balance out the strong flavours and spices from the sausages and beans.
Finally, we got our main, Beef ribs ($28) achiote, orange, BBQ sauce, coriander and honey marinated ribs slow roasted with braise liquor and fries. At this point we were a little worried we would be hungry after leaving The Cupping Room but when this came out and we started digging in, we quickly changed our minds. This was massive and the meat was amazing, soft and falling of the bone. It was heavily flavoured with a tomato and spice sauce, normally prefer meat plain so you get that meaty taste but this was really awesome, really worked. Also enjoyed the addition of some shoe string fries, was really good with the sauce too and helped us to feel full afterwards.
Lastly, our side, Quarter cut potatoes ($8) with spicy cheese sauce, garlic aioli. This was ordered essentially to add some starch to the night and help us feel full if the rest of the dishes failed us. We were lucky we did order these though because they were amazing, the potatoes were soft and nice, like all baked, fried, boiled, any other way you can book a potato! As potatoes are always delicious no matter what you do to them, what makes this an awesome potato dish as opposed to just a good one, was the creamy cheese sauce. And there was so much of it, you could give each piece of potato a thick layer of it.
I’m normally not a big fan of ciders or beers (its the fizziness, same reason I don’t like soft drinks) but this sounded pretty fantastic, cherry cider ($7)! Cherry is pretty hit and miss in my opinion, sometimes its great and delicious, other times it taste like medicine. Lucky, this time it was the delicious that won this time. Not overly sweet like your Rekorderlig and Kopparberg, mild fruit cherry taste instead of that artificial one that plagues so many other cherry flavoured….things. Wouldn’t mind getting this again, or try one of their other exotic beers, pale ale and ciders.
Overall it was a pretty great meal, delicious, fancy, a sharing place but we were all full for $25 each including a beer/cider for each person. Only downside, we were never offered dessert even after sitting around chatting for a while, there was no indication that they offered dessert, didn’t see it on the menu or in the store anywhere. Only found out when we were leaving and saw two people having these amazing desserts. Soo sad, really would have loved to try out desserts here. Well next time, still need to check out The Cupping Room for brekkie/brunch.