This is another one of those coupon nights where I desperately tried to fit in a night out after discovering the coupon was dangerously nearing its expiration date. Yes, this new addiction of purchasing coupons on a whim is dangerous! It also got me a parking fine, but that’s a different story (my very first fine ever! Boo…).
The place was clean, elegant and favourably lit. For some reason I expected oysters bars to be white, I know it’s a totally baseless stereotype but Hill’s lived up to that stereotype. What was to my surprise were some of the Asian themed decorations such as the pot below. It conjured up images of home, although I haven’t seen many Chinese pots in my lifetime that had lids like that one. I wonder what it was used to hold…
The front of the restaurant was small but it had a back room as well. As we arrived reasonably early, there weren’t many patrons yet. I was thinking to myself, why is this place so empty? Surely it can’t be that bad. As the night went on, it quickly filled up. Most of the patrons looked like regulars who were really enjoying themselves.
The bar was not big, one of the smaller ones I’ve seen. However I’m not sure if they have bottles hidden under that counter which was not visible.
For entree, Yuye and I ordered half a dozen oysters each. We’re at an oyster bar so oysters were the obvious choice. The waitress explained where each type of oyster was sourced from (there were 3), however, due to her accent, I wasn’t able to catch their names. They were very fresh and absolutely delicious though, few of the freshest oysters I’ve tasted. I only started liking oysters in recent years. Previously I disliked anything that grew in shells (apart from scallops, I loveeee scallops) and always thought they tasted too much like the sea. I’ve come to embrace that taste now and sometimes crave for it too. How people change eh.
We received a few pieces of bread with butter as well, served on a wooden board.
For mains, we were able to choose from a set menu (which I forgot to take a photo of…). Yuye got the porterhouse steak with sides. We both thought it was a bit pedestrian, the steak was nice but a little thin (not the best cut I believe) and the presentation wasn’t the best either. I would have expected this type of food at a pub rather than a reasonably posh looking restaurant like Hill’s. Due to the thinness of the beef, it was also a bit overcooked inside which made it chewy.
I ordered the lamb strips with mash and veggies. My lamb was cooked very well. It was tender, juicy and the sauce was just the right saltiness too. The only thing I didn’t like about the dish was the brussels sprouts. They were rock hard, I believe, resulting from being undercooked. The other vegetables were cooked fine, I even ate my carrot! That was a very big achievement.
For dessert, we ordered one each – a chocolate mousse with ice cream and a broken down berry cheese cake. The mousse was as expected, not too sweet but full of chocolatey goodness. I liked the ice cream too, it had bits of chocolate mixed into it which gave it a nice texture and crunch. However, I wasn’t too sure about the cheese cake. I know it was meant to be ‘broken down’ as in with the individual elements in a glass instead of in cake form, however, I could not taste much of the cheese at all. Most of the whiteness you see in the glass was cream. Unsweetened cream. It wasn’t by any means not nice, but it did give me a bit of a surprise to say the least. In short, it lacked flavour, so it wasn’t really my cup of tea. If more cheese was added, it would have tasted better.
We also ordered two drinks, a lemon lime and bitters and an orange juice. Yes I know, we didn’t order any wine to go with the meal. I’m not a big wine drinker and I had to drive so, that was the choice.
It’s always interesting when I get the bill after a meal when a coupon was used. “Your bill comes to $7” and then my jaw drops open and realise, oh wait, I paid for it beforehand! It’s even more weird when I don’t have to pay anything and just walk out the door. I feel so bad so I always have to leave a tip. I guess it’s just a silly way to make myself feel better after buying those coupons. 😀
All in all, it was still a good meal. I liked the atmosphere, the service was good and food was reasonable, especially those delicious oysters. Just pity with that parking fine. Yes, I parked in a permit zone. It was a fairly expensive lesson but I’ll know for next time not to park there.
Hill’s Oyster Bar & Brasserie
Phone: (03) 9939 9293
789 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn 3122