photo of Mesa Lunga’s chandelier by Theen Moy
date of visit: Wednesday 22 May 2013
It’s been just over a year since my last visit to Mesa Lunga and I actually had no intention of writing about this visit (so no photos), but, in retrospect, I also think it’s fair to update my opinion.
I popped into Mesa Lunga before the Loft launch party. My friend suggested it because it was somewhere she wanted to try and, fortuitously, it was right next door to Loft. I kept my mouth shut about my last visit and arrived with not only an open mind but a determination to avoid churros at all costs!
Being super early on a weekday, we had no problems being seated in the restaurant without a reservation. We started with glasses of The Lane Pinot Gris while making our decision about what, and how much, to order.
We decided to order a few small plates, as well as a carciofi pizza (I really love artichokes). I still think it’s weird for a venue which styles itself as Spanish/tapas to serve pizza, but the pizza was actually pretty good, with a crispy base and enough topping but not so much that everything sagged.
We also ordered the prawns with garlic, chilli and sherry vinegar, the pork belly with quince aioli and the patatas bravas. We might have ordered a bit too much …
For me, the pork belly with the quince aioli was easily the stand out dish. The crackling was really crackly and the quince aioli was amazing. I would have been quite happy to have some crusty bread and that by itself. It was a lovely combination of sharp and garlicky with a texture that was somewhere between thick mayonnaise and a sauce. The sharpness worked really well with the pork and made me wonder why we don’t see pork and quince as a more common combination.
The prawns, and in particular their sauce, got a big thumbs up from my friend and we both liked the patatas bravas, although the chilli heat of the tomato sauce seemed a little inconsistent. The potatoes themselves were super crispy and the aioli was suitably garlicky.
The bill came to $84 which, while we had ample to eat, I felt was a bit on the pricey side. As with my last visit, I also felt service was a bit uneven. It’s definitely something that needs tightening up, especially around the end of the meal. I think it’s reasonable to assume that people who are dining early (and who are all dressed up!) are probably on their way out to something else, so being sharp with both bringing the bill AND collecting it, is important.
The visit definitely improved my opinion of Mesa Lunga, but it’s still not somewhere I’d be suggesting as a destination venue.