Yesterday afternoon found us stopping by friends' apartment at the leafy bayside suburb of Elwood. The visit happened to be food related, as we were dropping off their half-share of a crate of mangoes. Plump and luscious Kensington Prides that faintly perfumed the car for the evening. Following our delivery, we stopped to grab dinner and a few drinks at the Blue Tongue wine bar and restaurant. The place stood out despite being nondescriptly signed as it was located near the heart of the village and bustled with a noisy after-work crowd that spilled out off the front al fresco area. We however, scored a table towards the back end atrium space. Blue Tongue is just what you would expect from any such establishment in this demographic...call it casual chic, or chic casual? Bare floors, paper over linened tables, arranged cutlery and glassware, and a dimly lit interior dominated by an inviting bar. Despite being on a Tuesday night, it was lively.
Quite an extensive menu selection with perhaps half a dozen daily specials was on offer. We had the Mixed Chargrilled Seafood over a Rocket and Tomato Salad ($29.50), and a Prime Ribeye Fillet served with Herbed Potato Mash and Roasted Mushrooms ($33.50). Unusually salty but pleasantly chewy slices of sourdough to go with some rather bland oil and swirl of balsamic vinegar was proffered after orders were taken. I also chilled with a glass of Stella on tap ($6) while waiting for our food. The arrival of the grilled seafood dish brought some excitement as the mount of seafood was impressive and generous, an appetising jumble of prawns, squid portions, large mussels and cutlet of blue eye trevalla straddled by two halves of a whole sand crab (flower crab). Under all that hid the salad greens and cherry tomato halves. The seafood survived the chargrill perfectly cooked and were fresh and delightfully sweet with highlights of garlicky crispiness.
The tender squid pieces sporting charred edges were a revelation.
The eye fillet on the other hand was just okay. A thick medallion of meat was cooked just as ordered to medium-rare but could’ve been better seasoned and wasn’t at all juicy. Normally when cutting into even a well rested steak, one would expect some puddling of meat juices but not a hint of liquid was in sight here. Similarly the mash couldn’t be described in any sense of the word as creamy and the serve of sliced mushrooms verged on rubbery. Surrounded by an almost non-existent dribbling of some dark balsamic jus reduction, the whole plate could be best described as a bit parched. Stealing from the other dish for some impromptu surf and turf helped but good steak should really be expected to hold their own.
Our waiter was cheery and sufficient but let us down towards the end following our dessert order. After 30 minutes waiting on our Chocolate Fondant with King Island Cream ($9.50), he turned up with an apology that he’d got the order wrong and we were up for a further 10-minute wait. By the time it arrived, we were too ready to go to truly appreciate its rich and suitably oozing hot chocolate centre and accompanying garnish of quite more-ish honeycomb crumble. So our meal at Blue Tongue was rather hit and miss, but the place appears to have broad appeal not just for dinner and evening drinks but for all times of the day. Jamie of The Breakfast Blog is a fan of their Eggs Benedict though unfortunately for us, Elwood is too far away from our regular patch to make a pre-lunchtime breakfast there a viable weekend option anytime soon. Perhaps our friends will give their breakfast a try and report back!
Food: 3 spots - Surf a hit but turf a miss.
Service: 4 spots - Attentive nonchalance.
Value: 3 spots - What you'd expect.
Returnability(R) Factor: 3.5 spots - The bar could be a regular after work affair if we lived nearby, but we don't.
Spot Score: 14/20
Blue Tongue Wine Bar
62-64 Ormond Road, Elwood, VIC.