One particularly slow Tuesday afternoon, I jumped in to my Junk folder to see if I’d missed anything awesome. Amongst the usual Catch of the Day stuff that didn’t make the cut, was an invitation to Watt for a preview of their new Spring/Summer menu. From last week. For that very night.
I panicked. Of course I wanted to go! I’d just missed a good friend’s birthday at Watt due to a weekend away booked prior and was peeved to miss the yumminess of the party food and espresso martinis. Because Watt does a killer espresso martini.
So I flicked an email back to the lovely organiser and to my surprise, I had a reply within a few minutes saying I could still squeeze on to the table! Victory.
So I frocked up and trotted on in to see what Watt was doing with their menu. It actually had been several years since I dined there last; I recall some sort of delicious squid ink spaghetti with seafood.
I was welcomed to a big square table outside by the maitre d, and immediately recognised some familiar faces. There was a cocktail on for the night and I happily accepted one – a pineapple-minty punch type concoction in a jar with a handle. Delicious and fresh. If not for the whole driving caper and my waistline, I would’ve happily downed another 37.
We were presented with what seemed like a thousand plates from Watt’s entrée/share plate/bar menu. I must admit, I overachieved with my consumption as I assumed that these plates would be the whole dinner! There were certainly enough of them. There were duck spring rolls (yum, but not earth shattering), thai fish cakes (some of the better ones I’ve had), and so many more. A definite asian theme through the entrees and bar dishes, which is just perfect food for pairing with a crisp white wine on a summer’s day. Or a cocktail. Or a beer.
My favourite entree was the squid (I’m a sucker for excellent squid and try it just about every time it’s available). The maitre d explained that they’d incorporated more Thai spices into the coating, and then the chef came out and elaborated that they use egg white and a rice/cornflour mixture – making it extra crunchy, and gluten free. Awesome news for our glutard friends. Awesome news for anyone who likes spiced, crunchy, perfect squid. I’ll be bringing the D man back for squid and brews very soon.
In saying that, you also shouldn’t really be allowed to attend Watt this Summer without eating the honey-cured salmon. Unless you don’t like salmon, in which case, why are we even talking? Get out.
Okay, now he’s gone, we can talk. It’s cubed, it’s delicate, fresh and delectable. You know that ‘Oh I just need something light to go with this glass of champers?’ feeling? Me either. I want brie and squid and chips. But it you don’t like ‘heavy’ or you love salmon, eat this. It comes with some lovely baguette croute and was so good I was a bit peeved that there was an entire board sitting in front of those other girls and they’re not even eating it, they’re just talking as if they don’t have gorgeous honey-cured salmon in front of them and it’s hot tonight, surely that could go bad at any minute? Why won’t they eat it? Would it be rude of me to steal it? Probably. #foodieproblems #greedylady #foodpanic
Other notable share plates included: olives, fetta and fresh, crispy grissini, popcorn chicken with satay sauce (see Libertine) and vibrant colourful dips with toasts for spreading. All well executed, although I’d say the satay sauce didn’t really excite me with the chicken. I loved both elements, but perhaps my chilli-tongue was after a bit more kick. The beetroot dip was a favourite of mine, though. Loved that earthy sweetness.
Okay so by this time, I’d been poured a glass of white wine and I’d eaten by bodyweight in all of the above, while most people were sort of delicately picking and making polite conversation.
Then I find out we are to order a main of the menu as well! Uh-oh. Tragedy.
Well, I was determined not to miss out so had a look at the menu and whilst I usually would have gone the bistro-style eye fillet (nothing like a beautiful piece of meat and some paris mash, jus, greens etc), I was a little full. So I chose the linguine with seafood (because pasta is ‘lighter!’) and decided to take a comparison with my favourite seafood pasta in town, at Vine Restaurant on Moray St.
The more popular choices from the table were the aforementioned eye fillet (by a long shot) and also the barramundi (which looked exquisite).
My pasta came out and I was happy to see a great pile of crustacean on top of a modest serving of spaghetti, with a good amount of chilli/garlic infused tomato sugo. Smelled amazing.
Prawns, mussels and clams were the main feature of the dish, and they were cooked well. I often struggle with prawns-cooked-in-shell, as these were. They are so often just a little more cooked than I prefer. These were that way inclined, but the other seafood was cooked beautifully to my taste, and that sauce: wow. Fresh chilli sat atop the dish as garnish, and there was a good kick to the whole dish. I was happy for the generous shavings of fresh parmesan and my crisp white wine.
A lovely guy sitting next to me had the barramundi with crispy skin, pesto and a sort of potato salad side (but fancier) and said it was delicious. It certainly looked great. The whole table raved over the eye fillet, so I must get back soon to tuck into one myself.
My particularly terrible shot of the salmon dish next to me. I was obviously too impatient wanting to get at my dish!
After making a hearty effort with my pasta, I was really tapped out for the night. There were some sexy looking desserts on offer, including a crème brulee, which I have promised to come back for.
During dinner, the chef had been out several times to explain dishes, answer questions and offer insight into the menu. I loved that he took the time to do this, and couldn’t speak highly enough of Watt’s hospitality that night. Big thanks to MyCityLife for the invitation, as the preview has put Watt back in my top 5 hotspots for Summer 14/15. I foresee many glasses of white and plates of squid in my future…
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Watt and MyCityLife that night and all food and drink was provided. All opinions are my own.