Monday, August 4, 2008

Lulo restaurant, glenferrie road, hawthorn.

A friend of mine has just bought a house in Hawthorn, so I'm busily reacquainting myself with the wonders of glenferrie road. i used to live just off glenferrie some 2 years ago, and it seems everything has changed. in a good way.

so far we've been to samurai a few times (i love this restaurant), and a new sichuan restaurant that can actually spell sichuan (instead of szechewan or whatever).

so last night we thought that wed give lulo's a go (it's next to samurai, and looks good).

the decor is nice, with a map of spain drawn onto a mirror, and nice red feature walls. the fact is, that we were there for comfort food, because the weather was typical melbourne drivel (we wouldn't have it any other way, now would we?).

this is what we got to eat:

Banderillas - skewers of olives, guindillas (mild chilli )& white anchovies- $8.00

the first tapas was very large for it's price, however the olives did not have the firm texture i was expecting. i'm not sure why, but i thought that caperberries would have fitted the bill perfectly instead of the olives, as they would have supplied a different texture, and no pit in them either!

Chorizo con Sidra - chorizo sausage sauteed with onions & apple cider -$8.50

the chorizo's in cider were good, and were tightly packed bundles of meat and spices. i liked the balance of them. i feel uncomfortable ordering chorizo, becuase, although i order them every time, i have no benchmark to judge them against. movida? barcelona? i really need to understand what good chorizo is supposed to taste like. regardless, these were nice. the cider was great, having been reduced, and was good on the chorizo and the bread we had.

roasted potatoes with peppers and olives - $12ish.

the roast potatoes were really good, and i liked the balances between the potato, pepper, and olives. the peppers worked well with the potatoes for sure.

Calamari a-la-plancha con dos aioli - grilled calamari with squid ink & garlic aioli- $20.00

the squid was tender, very tasty and fresh. i liked the main pieces a lot, however, i'm not a fan of the tentacles, so i'll leave them alone. i felt that the aioli (i think that spanish aioli is actually spelt "alioli") needed a bit more of a kick, as i love my garlic and didn't get to taste it.

Garbanzos salteados - braised chickpeas with eggplant, tomatoes & spinach - $12.00

and now, onto the dish of the night - chickpeas! these were really good and i loved the texture of the eggplant and the chickpeas, and it all worked well. i would have loved some bread to mop up the juices.

we washed it all down with some wines - an '06 auroch tempranillo that i liked the sound of, and an '06 Bodegas Crianza de Castilla Verdejo at the owner's suggestion. both of these were very good - next time i think we'll just go a bottle of the red! i loved it, yum.

a very curious thing happened however: while taking the photos the owner/manager came and asked me what the pics were for. i'm not sure if this has happened with other people and i'm not sure if there is a time or place to raise this, but the manger raised the issue of bloggers being qualified to review a restaurant while we were trying to eat. i mean really, this is my opinion, and who is better qualified to give my opinion than ME... I raised the issue that blogging is good for restaurants (in my mind) because it gives people an alternative view of the restaurant and pics. it did get me thinking though, what is the impact of blogs on restaurants? i mean, maybe ed's would have an impact, but for the average smalltime blogger i don't see what harm it could do. by the end of the night it was ok, as we chatted about other restaurants with the owner, and the truffles in tasmania, but i think that this is something that all food bloggers will come across at some time or another.

the layout of the restaurant was good. it had some hard surfaces, but was not loud and we easily sat there chatting, sucking down wines. this may change later on in the week - the owner said that mondays and tuesday are quiet, wednesday and thursdays busier, and fridays/saturdays very busy.

i liked the map drawn onto the mirrored surface, that showed the major cities. the only thing i might have done with it was perhaps add where the wines regions are to show people where each different wine comes from. that might have been a nice touch i guess in my mind.

the food was pretty good, and just what we needed on a crappy day. overall i liked this place, and will be going back to try a bit more food there. i'll even bring my camera :P


thanh7580 said...

Hi James, I think the influence of blogs isn't that great. Food blogs mostly influence other food bloggers who read them very regularly. A "regular" punter may do a search for a restaurant and see a food blog review, which may sway them slightly. But in the end, I think they will rely on the traditional media review mostly. Unless you read a bloggers work consistently and get a feel for what they like and their style, I think you will take their review with a grain of salt. But that's exactly what blogs are for. Just to provide another opinion from an average person. It's like your friends recommending a restaurant, but since you know your friends well, you can make a judgement faster whether their recommendation is good or not. You know it's based on their opinion on one visit, but that's what recommendations are, other people's opinion.

jamesbluntknife said...

although yes, blogs influence bloggers, if you do a google search for restaurants, often you will see a blog review or two near the top (or AT the top!), and these might give you an opinion of what the food is like. the advantage is this is you get a feel for the venue, not an idea of how good it is. bad nights, early in the week, sick chef, they are all reasons for a restaurant to not be top notch on a certain night.

i always find that i use blogs for ideas of where to eat and what to try, and not bother with the bloggers opinion as much. although some anecdotes from restaurants i would take into consideration, like some good things i have read about for cumulus inc. (see link below)

that sort of thing gives me an idea what it will be like more than anything else. oh, and i like pretty pictures!

DanC said...

As a non-blogger but avid reader of Melbourne food blogs I think you're underestimating the impact that blogging has...because you're not factoring in the flow-on effect.

The people who read food blogs and love exploring new restaurants are the people who go out and tell all their friends about it, and their family, and their nauseum. They are the restaurant equivalent of your friend (everyone has one) who always knows about that new band/album/clothing store/concert before you do. That friend who you listen to because you know they think a lot about it!

I think restaurants have a lot to win or lose by pleasing bloggers, which is exactly why I like that bloggers are out there doing what they do :)

Keep it up.

thanh7580 said...

James and Dan, I'm a massive food blogger and definitely look at other people's blogs for places to eat. Therefore I thought that my view of a blog's importance is way too high. I remember reading an article saying that the effect of food blogs on non-bloggers and people not really into food isn't that high. So I'm not really sure how much influence blogs have. I know that a lot of other people who read my reviews and go and try places are bloggers, or at least they're the ones that leave a comment about it.

James, I'm a regular reader of Claire's blog and have met her in real life even. I saw that Cumulus Inc post and yes, it has made me want to go there. Differing to you, I do trust the opinions of regular bloggers that I read.

Dan, I'm one of those people that is constantly telling my friends about new restaurants and convincing them to go.

jamesbluntknife said...

i think i am influenced by other bloggers to some degree, either by their words or pictures. if i respect a person's blog and agree with their comments i am more willing to try other restaurants that they have reviewed and sounded good.

however, there are some things that i think are necessary when reviewing a restaurant to truly get a feel for the venue, e.g. the time and day, and number of patrons. this sort of thing gives an indication of the ambiance. i am getting old(er) and actually prefer a quiet restaurant where i can chat, but not so stifling that everyone hears my conversation.

but that is just me - i know a lot of friends who do not refer to blog reviews for the opposite reasons i use - they're not in a magazine or a newspaper, and do not get paid to do their job.

claire said...

Hi James, just discovered your blog. My parents live just around the corner from Lulo and have told me good things about it - now that I've also read your review I'm keen to check it out!

If you do go to Cumulus Inc soon, you MUST try the Rum Baba (I had it for dessert on a subsequent visit). It is to DIE for!! :)

jamesbluntknife said...

yeah, i think that lulo's was very good and have had friends go there recently and were very impressed.

i want to go back there soon too, now that i have my new camera and have a hankering for their food again.

re: cumulus inc, i'll see if the girlfriend wants to check it out, but your review definitely helps to sway the balance lol.

tell me what you think of lulo's if you go...

oh, and good to see you on my blog!