A meet-up with my fellow xangans Jen and Shirley have been in the works for quite some time but conflicting work schedules and demanding boyfriends (ha) have made it a bit difficult to plan something on a night in which we were all free. In fact, tonight was the only weekend night in which I could actually meet up with them before the new year so when I suggested dinner in the city on December 12th (i.e. tonight), I was stoked when they both told me that they were free.
Of course, it also happened to piss down rain on the same night and so by the time I reached Flinders Street station just before 6pm to meet Shirley, I was already drenched despite me toting a big arse umbrella courtesy of Adam (which also failed to close properly as the band was broken). So yes, walking to Hairy Canary on Little Collins Street in torrential rain probably wasn’t the best fun one could have. And when we got there, all the tables were full so we had to wait around at the bar for 30 minutes which actually wasn’t TOO bad because 1) we didn’t make a booking prior to coming and 2) we were still waiting for Jen who was stuck in traffic and didn’t show up for another hour and a bit because the traffic on the Monash was a nightmare and then she had to drive around in circles trying to find parking.
Anyway, you guys won’t be leaving without a food commentary of some sort so here we go. Please be aware that my notes are sketchy at best because I didn’t write down any notes like I usually do. Also, I want to apologise for the rather awful photos – I usually try to take photos without flash but in this instance, it was impossible. I blame the extremely poor lighting in this place (they wanted to make it all dark and romantic).
We started off with a simple bowl of shoe-string fries ($6.50). Nothing to harp on about, they’re just your usual Maccas fries albeit a little crispier and not as oily I suppose. It was served with a small bowl of garlic aoili which, once again, wasn’t anything to do a song and dance about.
Arriving at the same time as our fries was an order of chorizo, safron and spinach croquettes (2 for $12-something, if I remember correctly). I love croquettes and I was especially keen on trying these ones but the morsel I ate felt a bit… inadequate. Sure, they were perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Sure, the romescu (Spanish pepper – I looked it up!) sauce added a much needed bite without being too overbearing. But seriously? It didn’t do it for me. I couldn’t really taste the chorizo and I wasn’t sure whether they were skimping on it or whether the safron diluted it but either way, I felt a bit jibbed. Heck, Movida and Movida Next Door make better croquettes at a cheaper price. (Sorry, bad photo. I have no idea how to get rid of that shadow. Tips are greatly appreciated)
Scallops (3 for $14.90). Me and Shirls had a hard time choosing our tapas dishes, but the one thing we could both agree on were the scallops as we’re both huge fans. Our scallops were presented on top of their shells and dusted with olive breadcrumbs, which I found quite interesting and yummy. I think this dish would’ve been good, except for the spinach bed which was perhaps a bit too salty for our tastes. At almost $5 per scallop, I did feel that it wasn’t worth the heavy price tag – the scallops weren’t even THAT big! It was at this point that I started thinking about Dave‘s awesome-looking scallops from Match which I REALLY must try next time…
Chicken and avocado pizza ($17.90, I think). Yeah, I know that the pizza looks like it’s sweating (or mutated). See, this is the reason why I hate using camera flash… but it was either go for the sweaty pizza look or a completely black photo so I chose the former. The pizza might not have looked all that appealing but I reckon that this was the best dish of the night. I loved the mushy avocado and the lightly marinated chicken thigh pieces. I loved the crispy thin pizza base. And most of all, I loved the creamy lemony dill sauce that went all over pizza toppings. For under $20, one could have a pizza to themselves and be positively stuffed. It’ll still be a cheap meal, but I felt that the Hairy Canary pizza was only slightly better than a $8.90 pizza from Bimbo Deluxe.
All up, the bill came to just over $60. This included drinks so when you think about it (plus the fact that we were all pretty much full), it was rather cheap. While the food was alright, I felt that Hairy Canary do drinks better than meals. This was evident by the fact that most people around us focused on their drinks first, and their food second. Being a Friday night, the place was packed and it does make sense to book prior to rocking up if you don’t want to stand in line forever. The jury is out on whether I’d actually come back here again for dinner as I feel that I could get better Spanish food elsewhere for the same amount of money (Movida Next Door, anyone?). Having said that though, I would not rule Hairy Canary out for after-work drinks or their supposedly-good breakfasts one day.