Beyond the occasional grocery shop, I hadn’t really found a reason to head over to Lane Cove recently but there’s actually quite a few restaurants there – one of which is Lodge Tapas which is near the local Woolworths. This quiet achiever of a restaurant does a busy trade during the week and for brunches on the weekends, but it’s a bit more laidback on the weekends at night, allowing you to appreciate their contemporary wooden decor and friendly service.
We visited for dinner one Saturday night and decided to get a couple of their entree tapas to start, before tucking into one of their big main tapas to share. Their Arancini Balls were a good size, making for some satisfying morsels that were filled with wild mushrooms, enhanced with white truffle oil and parmesan. Each lightly crumbed ball sat on a dollop of garlicky aioli which went down well.
Arancini Balls, $13
Their Chargrilled Haloumi was something a bit different from the usual – the chewy pieces were served with a shallow fried tofu which had a light batter enveloping it and a hearty vegetable sugo sauce.
Chargrilled Haloumi with Shallow Fried Tofu, $17
Then came the main tapas – impressively presented on a huge wooden board with the kilo of beef short ribs fanned out and drizzled with balsamic vinegar, served with a creamy mushroom sauce, jus and sea salt for you to season to taste. The beef was very tender, having been braised overnight and prepared with red wine and spices which infused into the meat. We definitely overestimated our stomachs on this one – the two of us struggled to get through all that beef, and it would be better shared between 3-4 (with an additional entree tapas). The dish also came with two sides, a generous serving of lightly battered zucchini fries with more of their delicious aioli and a refreshing rocket and pear salad to cut through all the richness of the dish.
1kg Braised Beef Short Ribs, $59
For drinks, we paired the Beef Short Ribs with a glass of the Renards Folly Sangiovese Cabernet from McLaren Vale ($8 per glass) which was the recommended wine for the dish – it went down smoothly and had some rich, fruity notes. For something a bit sweeter, I went for their Honey Apple Cocktail which was a comforting blend of whiskey, with honey, vanilla syrup, apple juice and scented with cinnamon powder before being shaken and strained. The end result – something that tasted like liquid apple pie.
Honey Apple Cocktail, $16
Lodge Tapas is a great (albeit slightly hidden) spot for casual dining on the Lower North Shore, a bit off the beaten path but worth the detour – its spacious interiors and share plate menu makes it a good pick for group catch ups.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Lodge Tapas