Lotus Espresso, The Junction

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There’s Lotus at The Junction and there’s its offshoot at Westfield Kotara. One’s just a coffee and lunch spot, but there’s more than coffee, very good breakfasts and innovative lunches going on at The Junction.

Why not stop by for dinner as well.

The tables may not have white cloths, but the casual style is part of the appeal. You can eat inside or out; on a mild mid summer evening there’s really no choice. And even if a slight breeze does spring up, there’s protection at each end of the terrace.

Menu and water arrive the minute we sit down. Tick. Service is friendly and efficient, but unobtrusive. Tick. Wines by the glass are presented in the bottle and poured at the table into appropriate and elegant glasses.

Tick. Timing of courses is just right. Tick. Only one thing is lacking, from my personal lexicon of essentials when dining – complimentary bread, no need for fancy butters, just plain, crusty bread rolls.

The dinner menu is supplemented by a tapas menu so we choose two tapas in place of entrees – a lighter option I think. This allows room for mains and maybe a dessert to share.

Four crisp wontons (perfect number) break open to reveal a fine prawn and snapper mousse. A dish of dipping sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds, and a tangle of finely shredded pickled green papaya and crisp salad greens are perfect partners.

My pick has to be the Galliano and sugar cured salmon. The salmon is silky and lightly cured, with Galliano adding zing to the encircling wreath of sauce. Zucchini ribbons,

fine red onion rings and a wedge of lemon are classic accompaniments.

The pink peppercorn crusted beef fillet on the specials board comes medium rare and well rested, its accompanying Paris mash a double whammy of artery clogging, buttery richness along with the bearnaise sauce melting over the top. Oh well, you only live once. And there’s a clutch of bright green, al dente asparagus and wilted spinach to help kill the guilt, and a thatch of deep-fried leek strands to provide crunch.

Tonight the rosemary marinated lamb backstrap has Israeli couscous (the larger grained one) as its carb. Again, the meat is medium rare, well rested and full of flavour, surrounded by a red wine jus, and a salsa of currants and green olives. Vibrantly green pea shoots add an extra dimension of colour and texture.

The dessert list includes cafe-style cakes, as well as a range of house made puddings, including a chocolate brownie and the ubiquitous panna cotta. But the passionfruit meringue roulade wins our vote.

A swiss meringue roll is filled with passionfruit cream then generously sliced. This is arranged beside a dish of vanilla bean flecked ice-cream and squiggles of raspberry

and passionfruit coulis with a fine net of toffee and a shower of icing sugar over the top. Two excellent macchiati arrive with the dessert. Tick.

Last impressions are the ones that usually stick.

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