I haven’t been to Five Bar for five years, and came back here for a work related Christmas lunch. As a Friday, with not long to go before Christmas, I was a little surprised that the bar wasn’t packed. There were a few random tables with couples or fours, but no other Christmas events happening.
With approx twenty of us, we were given two tables with the tall chairs – this was okay bit not the most comfortable arrangement.
Considering that we had booked in advance and pre-booked our mains, I was a little surprised that they weren’t more organised. We were there for approx 45 minutes before any food made it to the table. The staff were really nice and fixed up drinks as we arrived.
Starters included polenta bites (which were on a squash/pumpkin puree) and a charcuterie board with bread.
There were 3 plates of polenta bites (18 pieces) between 12 of us on our table, but only one charcuterie board. The charcuterie board clearly wasn’t enough to go around and they could have made it easier to share by dividing it up into two or three smaller boards. The bread was okay, but had a denseness to it which suggested that it was either frozen or baked the day before.
For main I chose the beef wellington which was little disappointing. It came with a jus in a glass but I think that I would have preferred a richer gravy. The beef was a little overcooked and the pastry a bit doughy. When it sliced, it fell apart rather than holding together into nice rounds where you can taste everything in one forkful. The veggies that came with it were okay but not stunning. No crispy roast potatoes here, just a mixture of soft roast veg. At a price of $28 on the a la carte menu – this wasn’t good value.
A colleague had beer battered fish and chips which was plentiful and she enjoyed.
Another colleague had the vegetable fritters which seemed to be entree sized. I didn’t get a photograph, but they were very small and not really substantial enough for a lunch compared to the other portion sizes.
We also had sharing desserts (again no picture – sorry). A board of almond cake (6 slices) and passion fruit panna cotta (4 portions) which made it very difficult to share among 12. They tasted delicious, but we only had a spoonful of each.
The whole meal took 3 hours, and I don’t understand why the kitchen didn’t organise it better. If our budget was the problem then maybe they should have suggested skipping dessert and having more substantial starters or vice versa. With the portions sizes being so variable, some people were very happy with their meals and others were disappointed. If the kitchen had taken the trouble to portion out the starters and desserts into sizes that could be easily shared between all of us, then maybe my review would be a lot more favourable.
I remember the menu here five years ago being quite tasty, but this group lunch was a bit of a fail on Five Bar’s part. It was nice, but not amazing and certainly didn’t make me feel inclined to book it in the future. Just a little thought into how it was presented, and the general organisation of the meal would have made a big difference.
This is my previous review from 31 March 2013:
Last night we wandered around Mount Lawley looking for somewhere to have dinner, and ended up in Five Bar (or is it Bar Five?). I like this bar, I have had a pre-dinner drink in here before and the bar food looked interesting and appetising, so thought we would give it a try. They also have a nice wide selection of beers, wines and spirits.
I love the bars around Mount Lawley – you can fit right in no matter how old you are, how dressed up you are, there are tables of casually dressed seniors sitting comfortably amongst tables of giggling model lookalikes, along with surfer dudes that look like they have stepped off the beach, and dating couples occupying quiet corners. Some visitors enter quietly, others sashay in as if on a catwalk, but it all seems to work and fit with the ‘anything goes’ comfortable vibe of the area.
We sat in a comfy chair and ordered some tapas style dishes from the menu. You can also order meat and cheese platters and larger meals, but we fancied a selection of smaller items.
Table number playing card
When your order is taken they give you a playing card for a table number which is quite quirky (like Sayers – they give you an alphabet character).
Mixed meat terrine
I loved the mixed meat terrine. It tasted like Christmas in a mouthful – chicken, pork and turkey, with a lovely citrus chutney – I wished we had more bread to accompany it though.
This dish was the star of the meal – perfectly shredded raw beef with egg, horseradish and red onion. The horseradish was ‘proper’ horseradish – nice and punchy, not the mild creamy version that is so often used. Whole dish perfectly executed. Again we could have done with more bread. I would happily have this dish again.
Chorizo with capsicum
The chorizo in this dish was very very strongly flavoured. The capsicums were nicely cooked and went well with the chorizo, but the overall flavour was too strong and overpowering. I would give this a miss next time.
Chips with curry aoili
Chips don’t get much better than this.
Will I be going back to Five Bar? Yes I will, I won’t choose the chorizos again, but I know that I will get a very satisfying meal. Looking forward to trying other items from the menu when I go back – the goat balls looked interesting.