Chats Amore at Figtree Churrasco

What: Figtree Churrasco Bar & Grill








Bottom line:

It’s all about meat but vegetarians are now welcome, and can enjoy their own churrasco grill if requested in advance.

I can’t comment on that because as with all the churrasco options the whole table must order it, and there are some things at which my dining partner draws the line.

There is an a la carte menu if you would like some control. But don’t assume this will mean less food. Even an entree of ‘‘deconstructed’’ beef wellington includes 150-gram eye fillet. Now that’s a main size steak for some people. Actual mains include duck (breast and sausage), chicken breast, lamb rump, 300-gram eye fillet and 400-gram scotch fillet. If you want light go for the South Australian kingfish with minted pea puree, roast cherry tomatoes, vino cotto glaze and lemon pressed olive oil.

We’ve come for the churrasco as we are basically lazy. It takes away any need to make a decision. Even the tapas are included.

It’s very tempting to dip salty, hot flat bread into the bowl of fire engine red tomato and goat cheese sauce, or nibble on croutes spread with tangy tzatziki, spicy beef stew or a pink prawn, even though we know there are nine courses to come.

And then there is the Figtree salad and that signature dish of salt smoke seasoned, salt crusted, twice-cooked chats; they could really be my undoing.

The first skewer arrives; a short segment of house-made South American spiced sausage. You are advised to try it with the barbecue sauce. It’s tempting to ask for more but you must keep thinking ... ‘‘nine’’.

Smoke-rubbed chicken thigh fillet is next, followed by a single scallop, not skewered but placed straight on the plate. It comes with its bright orange roe, which for me is just too rich.

Fork-tender, Szechuan pepper, cinnamon and paprika crusted pork neck is followed by a skewer of small, whole, hot, cinnamon sugar glazed pineapples.

No, it’s not dessert; this is the halfway point. Just a slice is needed to wake the palate and prepare it for the second act.

Onto the stage comes a skewer with chunks of cumin, brown sugar and pepper coated Gippsland beef.

We aren’t asked how we would like it. Fortunately the piece offered is perfectly medium rare. I suppose I could have rejected any that was well done. It’s that sort of place.

A blessedly small cube of fresh salmon topped with a little gremolata (lemon zest, garlic and chopped parsley) is placed on our plates. There’s no need for any extra sauce.

Cardamom and garlic crusted, rosy centred lamb rump is next. It goes perfectly with the quince marmalade and I wish it had come earlier in the sequence.

Then, just as we start to say ‘‘no more’’ here comes the final act, a pesto coated king prawn.

I blame that bowl of chats when we pass on dessert.

We will have to wait for another visit to taste the macadamia ice-cream and liqueur soaked strawberries under the Italian meringue of the retro bomb Alaska at the next table, or the caipirinha sorbet.

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