Matt Mccon­nell And Jo Gamvros' new book, Eat at the Bar, presents recipes that would be right at home in their iconic Mel­bourne restau­rant, Bar Lour­inhã. From cool­ing cocktails to clas­sics with a twist, it's easy eats on an­other level.

delicious - - CONTENTS -

Dis­cover the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind Mel­bourne’s Bar Lour­inhã.

WE’VE AL­WAYS LIKED to eat at the bar, so it’s log­i­cal that we opened one of our own (Bar Lour­inhã). We love the flex­i­bil­ity, loose­ness, im­me­di­acy and in­ti­macy of bars. They’re ex­cit­ing, un­pre­dictable. They cap­ture a phi­los­o­phy about en­joy­ing what’s good in the mo­ment, with no ex­pec­ta­tions of what will be on of­fer. In­tu­ition and con­ver­sa­tion play a part in how your night is go­ing to be. The bar’s cul­ture is as im­por­tant as its food.

For us, the ad­ven­ture started with our first trip to Spain in 1997. It seems like ev­ery town and city in Spain has at least one mar­ket sur­rounded by bars in the nearby streets that all serve what’s lo­cal and avail­able from the mar­ket that day.

We based the way we present our spe­cials at Bar Lour­inhã on this re­la­tion­ship be­tween the bars and mar­kets we saw in Spain. We never write our spe­cials down – they’re about hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with our cus­tomers. It also taps into one of the things we like best about bar din­ing – the flex­i­bil­ity of a menu driven by what’s fresh and avail­able that day. You’re in the hands of the chef, but you can also choose what to eat so you can make your own ad­ven­ture.


1/4 cup (55g) caster su­gar 11/ 2 tbs Beefeater gin

(sub­sti­tute other gin) 11/ 2 tbs Ap­erol 3 tsp le­mon juice 1 egg­white Ice cubes, for shak­ing Pey­chaud’s bit­ters (from se­lected bot­tle shops – sub­sti­tute An­gos­tura bit­ters), to serve

To make the su­gar syrup, com­bine the su­gar and 1/4 cup (60ml) wa­ter in a saucepan over high heat. Cook, stir­ring con­stantly, un­til su­gar is dis­solved (su­gar syrup can be stored, cov­ered and chilled, for up to 6 months and used for a va­ri­ety of cocktails).

To make Petruc­cio, com­bine 3 tsp su­gar syrup, gin, Ap­erol, le­mon juice and egg­white in a cock­tail shaker and shake vig­or­ously for 10 sec­onds. Top with ice and shake well again. Strain into a cock­tail glass and serve with a few drops of bit­ters.


1/4 cup (60ml) Li­cor 43 (Span­ish liqueur – from se­lected bot­tle shops) 1/4 cup (60ml) le­mon juice 1/ 2 or­ange, cut into 5 wedges 15 mint leaves, torn 360ml rosé 1/ 2 cup (125ml) lemon­ade Ice cubes, to serve

Place all in­gre­di­ents in a large serv­ing jug. Top with ice and stir well be­fore serv­ing im­me­di­ately.


“We fi­first served this when you could get tuna at a rea­son­able price – that’s hard to do now, which is good, be­cause the price re­flflects the fact it’s be­ing fi­fished sus­tain­ably. The sauce is loosely based on an al­mond sauce we had in Cádiz, but that one was al­ways served with meat. We thought it would be a great fi­fit with the rich­ness of the tuna.”

1/4 cup (40g) raw whole al­monds, to serve 1/ 2 tsp olive oil, plus ex­tra oil to serve Snow pea ten­drils or wild leaves such as ama­ranth, rocket or chick­weed, to serve


1 tbs sweet pa­prika 1 tbs sea salt flflakes 1 tsp freshly cracked black pep­per 1 tsp caster su­gar 1 tsp ground all­spice 300g sashimi-grade skin­less yel­low­fifin

tuna loin


1/ 2 cup (50g) flflaked al­monds, toasted 1 cup (250ml) thick­ened cream 1 long green shal­lot (white part only), thinly sliced 1 gar­lic clove, thinly sliced 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil

For the tuna lomo, com­bine the dry in­gre­di­ents in a bowl and rub the mix­ture into the tuna loin. Wrap the tuna in plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ate for about 30 min­utes.

Af­ter 30 min­utes, re­move the fi­fish from the plas­tic wrap and lightly pat dry with pa­per towel, be­ing care­ful not to re­move too much of the cure. Re-wrap in plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ate un­til ready to serve.

For the al­mond sauce, com­bine all in­gre­di­ents in a saucepan and quickly bring to the boil. Re­move from heat and al­low to cool be­fore blend­ing to a smooth sauce. Re­frig­er­ate un­til ready to serve. Pre­heat the oven to 180°C. Com­bine the al­monds with oil and 1/4 tsp salt flflakes in a roast­ing tin and roast for 4 min­utes or un­til toasted. Al­low to cool, then crush in a mor­tar and pes­tle.

Ar­range some al­mond sauce on a serv­ing plate and lay fifine slices of tuna on top. Serve with the snow pea ten­drils, crushed nuts, a lit­tle salt and pep­per, and a driz­zle of ex­tra olive oil.


“This is a trib­ute to Jo’s grand­mother, Lidia. When Matt was try­ing to work out this cook­ing thing, spend­ing time with her in her back­yard [gar­den] in Box Hill started to de­fine how he wanted to go about it. There are great pho­tos of Matt pick­ing zucchini flow­ers with Lidia. We’ve re­fined the bat­ter slightly, but the fill­ing is ex­actly as Lidia would have done it.”

12 zucchini flow­ers, trimmed,

sta­mens re­moved 1 fior di latte (fresh moz­zarella – sub­sti­tute boc­concini), cut into 12 cubes Light olive oil (sub­sti­tute sun­flower oil),

for deep-fry­ing Sea salt flakes, to serve


4 egg yolks 1 tbs Di­jon mus­tard 4 gar­lic cloves, crushed 440ml blended olive oil (sub­sti­tute

sun­flower oil) 2 tbs white wine vine­gar


1/ 2 cup (75g) self-rais­ing flour 1 cup (250ml) chilled soda wa­ter

For the aioli, put egg yolks, mus­tard, gar­lic and some salt flakes and freshly ground black pep­per in a food pro­ces­sor and whiz well. Very slowly, add olive oil, start­ing with a drop at a time to al­low the mix­ture to emul­sify be­fore adding the next drop. As aioli thick­ens, slightly in­crease the rate of drips, be­ing care­ful not to pour too quickly. Once the oil has been in­cor­po­rated, mix­ture should re­sem­ble a very thick may­on­naise. Add the vine­gar, fol­lowed by


1/4 cup ( 60ml) hot wa­ter to make a shiny, smooth aioli about the con­sis­tency of cream. Check and ad­just sea­son­ing, and store in an air­tight con­tainer in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

For the bat­ter, put the flflour in a mix­ing bowl and form a well in the mid­dle. Pour in soda wa­ter and whisk briskly to com­bine. The bat­ter should be the con­sis­tency of thick cream. Re­frig­er­ate un­til needed.

To stuff the flflow­ers, gen­tly tear one side of the flflower open. Place a cube of cheese in­side and twist to seal it shut.

Add enough oil for deep-fry­ing to a large, heavy-based saucepan or deep-fryer and heat the oil un­til it reaches 180°C on a cook­ing ther­mome­ter. Work­ing with one at a time, dip each flflower in the bat­ter and coat well. Us­ing your fifin­gers, gen­tly wipe off a lit­tle ex­cess bat­ter. Fry flflow­ers quickly for 2 min­utes or un­til lightly golden, then drain on pa­per tow­els. Serve warm with a sprin­kling of sea salt and a side of aioli.


Be­gin this recipe 1 day ahead.

“This comes from Seville. We ate it the fi­first time in Macarena, north of the city. Some of the places look a lit­tle scary to walk into, but there was this smell com­ing out of one of them, punchy and heady. We went in and they only had a cou­ple of things so we or­dered the chick­peas with spinach. Straight af­ter, we walked to the mar­ket, bought the spices, dried chick­peas and a big bag of spinach leaves, and cooked it straight away. We wrote the recipe down and it has been on our menu since.”

220g dried chick­peas

1/ 2 cup (125ml) olive oil 1 onion, sliced 1 dried bay leaf 3 gar­lic cloves, crushed 2 tsp each co­rian­der and cumin seeds,

roasted, ground 1 tsp fen­nel seeds, roasted, ground 1 tsp each ground all­spice and ground cin­na­mon 1/ 2 cup sil­ver­beet leaves and stems (op­tional), blanched, chopped 100g English spinach, stems dis­carded Juice of 2 lemons Sea salt flflakes, to serve

Place chick­peas in a bowl, cover with wa­ter, cover and stand overnight to soak.

The next day, drain chick­peas, place in a saucepan and cover with cold wa­ter. Bring to the boil over high heat, re­duce to a sim­mer and cook for 45-55 min­utes or un­til ten­der (top up with wa­ter if needed). Drain.

Heat 100ml oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Sweat onion, bay leaf and gar­lic with the 1 tbs fifine sea salt and 1 tsp freshly ground black pep­per for 6 min­utes or un­til onions are translu­cent and soft but not coloured. Add spices, mix well, then re­move from heat. Mix in the chick­peas and sil­ver­beet (if us­ing). Trans­fer to fridge to cool un­til ready to re-cook.

Heat re­main­ing 25ml oil in a large fry­ing pan over a high heat. When oil is hot, add an even layer of chick­pea mix­ture to the pan, spread­ing it out to cover base of pan, and cook for 3-5 min­utes. This will al­low chick­peas to caramelise on the bot­tom. Do not stir mix­ture un­til the chick­peas have be­come quite brown, al­most burnt.

Quickly add spinach and stir un­til it be­gins to soften. Re­move from heat and add le­mon juice. Serve pip­ing hot with a sprin­kle of sea salt.


“Of­ten, when re­turn­ing from Europe to Aus­tralia, we would stop some­where in Asia. This recipe was in­spired by those trips. It’s crunchy and re­fresh­ing, great for the warmer months when cu­cum­bers are at their peak. Use these pick­les as a gar­nish for cocktails. They lend a spicy, savoury twist to favourites such as a Bloody Mary.”

1/4 cup (60ml) rice wine vine­gar 2 tbs salsa pi­cante (Mex­i­can hot sauce

– use 1 tbs for mild) 1 tsp dried chilli flflakes 1 tsp caster su­gar 2 shal­lots, thinly sliced 500g Le­banese cu­cum­bers,

par­tially peeled, chopped 2 tbs chopped dill

Com­bine all the in­gre­di­ents ex­cept the cu­cum­ber and dill in a bowl, stir­ring un­til well com­bined. Stir through cu­cum­ber,

1/2 tsp salt flflakes and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pep­per, and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours be­fore serv­ing. Top with freshly chopped dill.

This is an edited ex­tract fromEat at the Bar by Matt McCon­nell with Jo Gamvros (Hardie Grant Books, RRP $50). Avail­able in stores na­tion­ally.

Spiced chick­peas and spinach

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