We had sampled some of the dishes at the Taste Festival last year, and were keen to go to the restaurant in Moonee Ponds to try more. We had signed up for VIP membership, which entitled us to a free meal upon going to the restaurant to collect our VIP cards. Hamsley had made a booking for the weekend before his birthday so that we could go and claim our free meals.
The Boathouse is set on the Maribyrnong River. Inside is decked out with lovely timber furniture, and lots of lush looking cushions. The french doors open out onto the large deck; which surrounded by lovely trees. We sat on the deck since it was such a lovely night, watching the sun set slowly as fitness freaks ran on by.
After quite some time looking through the menu, Hamsley was wondering what the free meal included; as he was eye-ing off the $40 steak on the menu. He went inside to ask, but all we got was vague answers from numerous staff members. He finally tracked down Dave for an answer. We were told our VIP membership cards could not be issued today, but he would offer us a discount on a main meal. Some what disappointed, shortly after that a waiter did come and take our order.
Tumbler Pils - 300ml $5.00, 500ml $9.00
We both went for the beer on tap, an ale all the way from Salzburg (I got the tiny one).
Arancini with Aioli - $13.50
We ordered an entree of arancini. I have always wanted to make arancini, but the whole process of deep frying doesn't excite me. Hamsley had never had arancini before, as he asked me what it was when I put in a request for it. We both loved them. They were warm, creamy, crispy and went really well with the aioli. I could have happily ordered another plate and called it a night.
400g Rib Eye "Grain Fed" with Baby Potatoes, Apple and Mustard Chutney - $40.50
Hamsley's steak was of a generous size. Although, to be honest; I was expecting a bit more on his plate for $40! The steak was cooked to perfection, and Hamsley did mention quite a few times that it was extremely juicy. It came with an epic steak knife to cut through the thick rib eye meat.
Zata Lamb Skewer with Freekeh, Parsley and Red Onion - $19.50
I was tossing up between this lamb kebab or a pizza. I didn't know what freekeh was, but I was in the mood for something meaty.
It came out nicely presented, and tasted fantastic. Something about mixing spices with lamb, and char grilling it makes it ever so tasty. The bed of freekeh and other ingredients made a very refreshing accompaniment to the succulent lamb skewer.
After it all, I'm still not sure how I feel about The Boathouse. The service at the start of the night left a lot to be desired, but was made up for later on when we dropped my tiny beer and it was replaced. The food was delicious, but possibly a bit over priced. I would like to go back to try other items on the menu, see what the service is like on a different occasion, and hopefully claim at least one of our free meals!