Hummingbird Bar & Restaurant.
HUMMINGBIRD BAR: REVIEWED BY ANOOSKA TUCKER- EVANS
AMBITION is a great thing. It drives us to be better, to achieve more, to succeed.
But ambition needs to be realistic. A couch potato isn’t going to wake up one day and run a marathon. It takes time, training and preparation.
Unfortunately, Brisbane’s new, contemporary and sophisticated-looking Hummingbird Bar & Restaurant is a victim of such overambition.
According to the website, the goal is to bring a “fine dining touch” to Rosalie, in the city’s inner west, “focusing on seasonal local produce and the marrying of unusual flavours to deliver cuisine designed to excite”.
Loin of venison with snails anyone? How about bacon-fat chocolate cake? This attempt to “excite” results in a menu that simply tries too hard and, ultimately, falls short.
That tender, rosy-centred venison is beautiful with the accompanying red wine sauce and shards of crispy-edged cauliflower, but the snails have no place on the dish. Neither does the cauliflower-scented puddle underneath.
While the bacon fat in the cake is a good gimmick, it adds nothing to the dry sponge. It’s joined by an unnecessary abundance of elements, including real honeycomb, jaffa mousse, chocolate crumb, vanilla ice cream and pistachio jelly with so much gelatine it’s a wonder it doesn’t bounce off the plate.
Overcooked lamb as well as burnt raisins and pine nuts in the assiette of lamb are also disappointing, as is having no tools to pry out the sweet flesh from the yabby claws.
Service also needs considerable work to reach a fine-dining standard, with waiters struggling to carry more than one plate at a time, dishes left uncleared on tables and a general unease and awkwardness to the staff. It’s good to be ambitious, but it’s better to underpromise and overdeliver.