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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Melbourne :: The Aviary

Whenever I called my Canadian friends I always, without fail, got the same question: "'s the kangaroo?". The answer was always the same: "I don't know yet!" which followed with some snarky remark questioning whether or not if I was actually in Australia.

I refuse to try new foods in certain forms: Deep-fried, mixed with other, very strong tasting ingredients, and burger-fied. I love burgers, don't get me wrong, but I just don't think that the best way to experience a new type of meat is ground up from who-knows-where, overcooked, and mixed with a lot of filler. Before I receive a slew of angry Australian backlash: I'm sure that there are great roo burgers. In fact, I bet there is - but I just didn't want to take my chances! I just wanted something simple, seared, and tasty.

The Aviary
Verdict: Seared kangaroo win!
Meal: Double pre-dinner down
Location: 271 Victoria Street, Abbotsford VIC 3067, Australia

Legendary Melbourne Street Art
When I landed in Melbourne, I made my way to Richmond - a "Little Vietnam". A cute area with grocers, clothing shops, and block after block of pho! I decided to refrain, as we had plans to try a new Greek restaurant in town, and just take a walk before dinner to work off my blood-sausage that morning. That's when I eyed a upscale-looking pub's menu: Spicy seared kangaroo salad. Oooh.

"You must be Canadian!" - bartender
"Sure am - how'd you know?" - Me
"You're way to polite to be American" - bartender

I feel for my American friends, really. I know that you aren't jerks, but there is certainly an unkind portrait of you overseas and this wasn't the first time I had such an encounter. In fact, I had a great time with all of the Americans that I met during my travels!

Spicy Seared Kangaroo Salad
Roasted Rice, Fried Shallots and Baby Shiso Salad with Chili Thai Dressing

After a few bites, I casually asked about the roasted rice and shallots that were supposed to be included in this salad. I was not complaining, as I was enjoying the salad for what it was, but I just wanted to know if I had just confused what I read with another item on the menu.

Before I knew it, a new one appeared, corrected. I'm honestly unsure if the presentation was fixed because I was taking photos (Melbourne is certainly no stranger to food bloggers - or Australia, for that matter. A totally different culture there!) or because they felt badly, but it was certainly prettier than the first rendition. I felt a little guilty - afterall, it's meat! And now I had two plates of it! I would have been fine with the non-fixed version, really. To ease the guilt, I just ate it all. Kanga-oink.

The rice was roasted and ground with a pestle and the deep fried shallots were a good touch. Overall, the flavours blended very well and the kangaroo was wonderfully seared - exactly how I wanted my first 'roo experience to be.

Kangaroo, in my opinion, is less gamey than venison and a very lean meat. Not too lean - done right, as I suspected, it should not be too tough, and I really enjoyed the flavour. If it was readily available, I can easily envision this being my preferred alternative to beef. No lie. It'd be fun to make it sous-vide...mmm!

The interior was quite nice - good for a fun out filled with drinks, tapas, and fun wait-staff. Satisfied with me first kangaroo experience, I set off...for dinner!

The Aviary on Urbanspoon


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