From the archive: This article was from our original site -MyCityLife posted on 30 June 2014.
As the cooler temperatures descend, our produce leans towards the comfort side, where rich tastes and zaftig substance are the order of the season. Citrus fruits from grapefruit to mandarins, lemons, oranges and kiwi fruit keep the palate cleansed and tart, while brussels sprouts, carrots, fennel and potatoes, silver beet and spinach are the heroes in warmth and well-being.
And while it’s customary for restaurants to seasonally change their menu, bars don’t necessarily need to follow suit. But then from the centre of The Valley on Ann Street, Laruche has always been distinguished as a bar and supper club that does not follow the same path as everyone else. With interiors reminiscent to a Len Wiseman feature, the design of Laruche is akin to dark fantasy, bordering on gothic. Warmly amorphous, the peacock feathered feature wall, a long chaise lounge, one black, one white high backed thrones, mismatched chairs and the sui generis dining setting adds to the upmarket kitsch. Add the vibrant chandelier centrepiece and other pieces of intriguing lighting evocative to suspended jellyfish and a canopy upon entry hinting at the hives for which La Ruche (French for ‘beehive’) is so named after, and this bar celebrates high-end revelry. The dark ambience is further enhanced by a music selection that specialises in cool house vibes featuring the best local DJ talent in town, with premium mixologists behind the bar, dishing up the smart cocktail menu and an agile kitchen; so there is no wonder this bar and supper club is so special.
And with the change in climate – which in Queensland means Hot for Summer and Spring, and Not Hot any other time – Laruche’s food menu too reflects the change in our seasons, but keeping to the ideal bar food menu with abundantly seasoned offerings designed to keep your tastebuds requiring refreshment – frequently. Most importantly, no one enjoys drinking on an empty stomach; accounting for waking up the next morning immersed in a raging hangover and dirty kebab wrap. But Laruche means we can avoid such a
Comfort food abounds, with taleggio croquettes, ricotta-stuffed crumbed mushrooms and caramelised pumpkin and spinach arancini. The deep-fry of the croquettes, crumbed mushrooms and arancini are crunching on the tongue, though the tomato chilli relish adds a lovely warmth to the croquettes just as the green tomato relish adds a refreshingly tart surprise to the arancini. Any remnants of tallow can be easily cut down with a few swallows of their Cubano Crush: a delightful mix of Havana Club anejo 3 anos, aperol, grapefruit, lime and marmalade.
Sliders are a Winters dream, and the fried chickpea fritter, beetroot slaw and tzatziki, Thai chicken patty baby cos lettuce and chilli mayo and Angus beef, grilled Swiss cheese, caramelised onion and wild rocket are taste sensations. Any overtastes in bread can easily be washed away with a guzzle of Scarlet Fizz: Absolut Pear, Crème De Peche, raspberry, lemon, Falernum, sparkling wine – come at me.
Fried chicken pieces, chipotle chutney, sweet and sour sauce chilli and pomegranate marinated lamb skewers with mint yoghurt are perfect bite sized bits to accompany your martini. Larurche’s martini Cactus Blossom with Herradura Blanco, green Chartreuse, lime, pink peppercorn agave and cherry tomato wash down quite nicely with these meaty pieces of goodness.
However, the beau monde of the menu would have to be a pick between the slow braised pork belly, pickled radish, puffed wild rice and pork broth and the seared scallops, beetroot wafer and wild rocket. The meatiness of the scallops full and lush, the beetroot and rocket adds a touch of acidity with luxurious textures to the dish. However, the succulence of the pork belly – aided by the broth – is earthily balanced by the crispy surprise of the wild rice, the radish adding a muted heat to the palate. With such luscious dishes, no other beverage could do it justice other than champagne; and with Laruche host to Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut, the dryness of this drop enhances the mellow tones of the scallops and pork more so.
The perfect finish to this epic menu of comfort food comes back to balancing the savoury with the sweet, continuing with the themes of opulence and well being. The dessert menu shines a spotlight on chocolate brownie, fresh berries and vanilla bean ice cream and mixed berry and caramel tart with Chantilly crème. These sweet treats will satisfy any nectarous appetite, with Laruche’s signature espresso martini onhand to keep any signs of sugar-induced sleepiness at bay.
Photo credit: Lady Lex