Monday, 1 August 2011

Tank Restaurant, Brisbane.

It's a little ironic that my first restaurant post is neither in Melbourne, nor the kind of place that the average university student regularly haunts. However, the Tank dining experience is definitely one worth raving about, and provided a gentle but firm reminder that Brisbane's food scene is progressing nicely (for all the criticism it seems to shoulder). Following positive reviews from Gourmet Traveller and The Australian, there was no better excuse to visit than to celebrate my mum's birthday. (Said mother had no objections whatsoever.)

The food at Tank has a focus on Japanese ingredients and French cooking techniques, which sounds a little incongruous at first, but then kind of makes sense in an illogical way. My previous experience with this combination at Verge a few years ago still makes me a little weak at the knees, so the expectations were pretty high.

Starters included tea glazed walnuts and lotus root chips ($7) - the chips fell on the salty side, but perhaps were intended for a stronger companion than water.

Our entree selections were two in number: the grilled lambs tongue, sweetbreads, Jerusalem artichoke puree, pickles ($23) and the crisp and smoked duck, goats cheese, mandarin, seaweed and wasabi leaf ($24).

Although offal is a somewhat confronting idea to most people - self included - the tongue was deliciously tender and the sweetbreads (a great euphemism for the thymus or pancreas) had a lovely creamy texture. My sister, G, who has no qualms with offal, was a huge fan.  

For mains, we ordered the wild barramundi, tempura calamari, heirloom carrots, burnt carrot puree ($36) and the anise roasted kingfish, sake steamed clams, heart of palm salad ($35).

The star of the night however, was the lamb shoulder to share - 'cooked for a very long time' and served with shiso mint sauce and rosemary jus ($81). 
Q: How long is 'a very long time'?
A: Twelve hours at ninety degrees. (!) 
Some kind of magic must happen in those twelve hours: the meat fell cleanly from the bone with the lightest fork prod, and was juicy, melt in the mouth and incredibly tender. Unfortunately, the shoulder was carved before I could capture its pristine, untouched state, but you'll have to believe me when I say it was a truly a thing of beauty. The sides of green beans with a miso dressing and beer battered chips and mayonnaise were a lovely touch.

With the table cleared of mains, I fulfilled a long-held dream of mine: to address the waiter, dessert menu in hand, and say in an offhand tone, 'We'll have one of everything'. Okay, so I lie - I was far too excited (yes, I really am that nerdy with my dessert), but I think our waiter was just as enthusiastic.

From top to bottom: nashi pear cheesecake crumble, poached rhubarb, vanilla ice cream ($16); cup of 'green tea' - green tea custard with flecks of tea, a thin layer of green tea custard, green tea sorbet and served with sugar encrusted cubes of bread ($16); hot chocolate pudding, toasted sesame ice cream ($16); chocolate and kinako truffles ($6); and my favourite of the night, shochu roasted jumbo camerosa strawberries, crisp meringue, cardamom cream ($16). The cup of 'green tea' was texturally complex, but well executed, and the most subtle flavour-wise, while the kinako - soybean flour - provided a nutty, slightly salty contrast to the chocolate.

Tank is one of those places worth saving the pennies for when a special occasion comes around - the venue is edgy but inviting, the waiters friendly and knowledgeable and the food is elegant and thoughtful. A tip though, if (or more correctly, when) you order the lamb shoulder, keep in mind the serving size is generous - enough to make three people deliriously happy, excepting adolescent carnivores.

Tank Restaurant & Bar
North Quarter Lane, Ground Floor, Santos Place,
31 Tank Street
Brisbane, QLD

1 comment:

  1. Currently reliving the night of deliciousness ... I'm sure if you looked up 'luscious' in the dictionary, it would show a picture of that lamb shoulder!