We had our February L.A. Dinner & Drinks at Barossa, an Aussie-inspired restaurant under the CreativEATeries group (they also own Al Dente, Tajimaya and Patara).
While I'm not a fan of any place that doesn't have any air-conditioning, Barossa's location at the Esplanade waterfront ensures a steady breeze through the open-air restaurant. Barossa, named after the famous wine-producing region of South Australia, is designed to give customers an authentic feel of the outback. The restaurant is decked out in wooden furniture and boasts a relaxed, laidback, chilled-out vibe. The food is distinctively Australian, hearty, rustic, and humongously portioned, but with many misses amongst the somewhat passable dishes.
The Australian Seafood Bouillabaisse ($16), tasted more like lobster bisque than a bouillabaisse, sweet, heady and very very rich. Good thing there was toasted herbed bread to soak up and balance out the sweetness of the soup. That said, the seafood, prawns, clams and scallops, was plentiful and fresh.
I liked the Parma Ham Pizza Foccacia ($24) with ricotta and truffle oil, which was more like a flattened and toasted sandwich bread than a pizza. Crispy and flaky, this was light, fragrant and balanced.
Both steaks were overdone, but at least the Pan-Roasted "Stockyard" Gold Class Angus Ribeye ($45 for a 250g) was full-bodied, juicy and robust. The creamed spinach & cheese side was alright, very creamy and milky, but the potato mash tasted generic and straight out of an instant mix package.
The Grilled Grain-Fed Australian Sirloin ($38 for 200g) was leaner, less juicy, but fairly moist. We all agreed that the sauteed forest mushrooms were delicious, juicy and with just enough flavour.
The Sauteed Prawns and Scallops Fettucine ($26) with asparagus was just awful. The sauce was just terrible (methinks they were trying to attempt a tomato-cream sauce but it just fell flat, it was limp and tasteless) and the pasta overcooked. The only good thing about this was the prawns and shaved parmesan cheese.
The Buffalo Wings ($15), from off the bar bites menu, was possibly the best dish, juicy wings fried to a delectable crisp golden crust were brushed with a piquant spicy sauce for an impactful flavour.
The Angus Beef Cheeks Braised in Barossa Shiraz ($28), chunked up with carrots, mushrooms were set atop a bed of mashed potatoes. The beef would have benefitted from an additional hour on the stove, and the mash was so lacking in character. The sauce was nice though, rich and sweet and just a little bitter.
8 Raffles Avenue
#01-11 Esplanade Mall
Tel: 6534 5188
Open Mondays to Fridays from 12noon to 3pm for lunch;
Mondays to Thursdays from 6pm to 1am for dinner;
Fridays from 6pm to 2am for dinner;
Saturdays from 12noon to 2am
Sundays from 12noon to 1am