Thursday, August 9, 2012


After gearing up for a Mexican feast at Mamasita's, we are shocked when we find the door locked and barred. They do not open Sunday. Sigh. Hmmm, where to? Coda comes to mind. I had dined there half a decade ago so I though it was high time I returned to this chic culinary haven, nestled in typical Melbourne underground style in the gorgeous Flinders Lane. It's full. We don't have a reservation, and the party in front of us is turned away... But they have space for two at the bar. We'll take it! And to make up for the fact that we were in a Mexican mood, we waste no time in ordering a couple of margaritas. They go down very easily.

Coda, with its sleek decor and humming atmosphere is a delightful fusion of Asian and European inspired dishes. The menu is broken up into bite sized pieces through to smaller plates then bigger plates. It is a fantastic menu for sharing and even if you're a party of two, you can make your way through a mulititude of dishes; my favourite type of menu!

Sitting at the bar suits me, as I can watch the action of the open-plan kitchen and I can pick the brain of the waiter who "lives" in the bar. Luckily the waiter is rather lovely in a cool kind of way, and the remark is made that he might "like" me... Anyway, I enjoy the service and conversation with the waiter so thumbs up for the staff.

First up, we have the Crispy Prawn and Tapioca Betel Leaf . It is a crunchy parcel of delight. The flavours are punchy and robust.

Next, arrives a marvellous creation that looks like a hybrid of a fairground toffee apple, and Medusa. It is the Sugar Cane Prawn with Sweet Chilli Sauce. It is such fun to eat; a burst of texture and flavour. 

A big fan of quail since first experiencing it at Red Lantern, I have the Blackened Quial, Daikon and Shiso Salad. It is finger-licking good (anyone for KFQ?). The quail is tender and perfectly cooked. The salad is a fresh accompaniment to the char on the bird. Delicious!

Last of the bites is the Spanner Crab, Galangal, Roasted Chilli and Lime Betel Leaf. A perfectly balanced bundle of joy. The crab is subtle and juicy and is enveloped so perfectly by the peppery leaf.

For our bigger plate (main) we had the fish of the day, which was whole baby snapper with a sweet and sour coconut sauce and beetroot salad. The snapper comes fried and sits up on the plate, almost like it is still swimming. It has a lovely crunch to the skin and the flesh is sweet and succulent and works beautifully with the coconut. Not long after arriving, the skeleton remains, completely stripped, like the fish bones Top Cat finds in his alley.

Although the cool waiter, who happens to be from the gorgeous Stirling in the Adelaide Hills, recommended chips to go with the snapper, we don't feel chippy and keep to the Asian side of the street and accompany it with a bowl of Wok Fried Bok Choy and Lettuce with Garlic and Ginger. It is ultra tasty. I could go a bowl as I type this, actually.

Dessert; I'm not doing the whole one dessert between two tonight. I am hungry. The waiter knows me now, and tempts me with the Chocolate Special, where the emphasis is on texture. It is a plate full of white chocolate sorbet, dark chocolate mousse, mini chocolate fondants and Coda's interpretation of an Aero Bar. It is dark and decadent and wickedly good.

The Blackberry and Marshmallow Semifreddo, Chocolate Mousse, Peanut Butter Crunch, Salted Caramel and Blackberry Gel, slightly disappoints Mr O'Reilly, as he is new to semifreddo and really wants it to be half a Freddo Frog on a plate. Actually, the dessert does anything but disappoint. It is a delectable combination of rich fruit and even richer chocolate, with added sparkle provided by the salted caramel. It is a brilliant dessert. One of the best I have tasted in recent times. Dessert was made even more brilliant by the incredible glass of sticky we had with it. If you're not a fan of dessert wine, I suggest you become one. 

Well Coda, you certainly turned it on for us tonight. The evening was great all round with no underwhelming dishes or snippy wait-staff. Coda does leave a slight dent in your wallet but it is worth it. It's even better when it leaves a dent is someone else's wallet, as was the case...

Coda on Urbanspoon

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