In the movies, flying on Friday night is portrayed as an experience like no other. With the final pieces of work wrapped up and sent out the door, it’s time for some well-earned R&R. Perhaps the lead character gets whisked away in a private car to warmer climates. Or alternatively, finds a cabbie who ‘floors it’ to the airport and out-of-all-the-odds boards the plane just in time with continual good-luck moments. Reality, however, is another story; Friday nights at the airport can be a nightmare with the fly-in fly-out crowd. It doesn’t have to be all headaches and stress. There is one café that aims to bring the international cuisine to you.
Every Friday, Crabapple Kitchen in Hawthorn jet sets its diners to a Friday night destination that tantalises the taste buds with a number of dishes and beverages. The degustation menu is crafted on a fortnightly basis with a specific cuisine in mind. On the night I attended, Iwas flying Crabapple Flight FNF101 to Southern USA! Trading my suit for denim and dress shoes for boots, it was time for some southern dishes.
The degustation consists of five courses ($45 per person) with the option of dessert at an additional cost. The drinks menu is also tailored to the destination – think locally themed international beers, wines and well-crafted cocktails – with the option of upgrading to the ‘high flyer’ drink package ($35 per person).
The first two courses – Tallahassee fire grilled corn with smashed avocado & Pulled Pork Po Boy – arrived and set the tone for the night. The two dishes were wholesome, tasty and no fuss little bites. The grilled corn was sweet and was an interesting match with freshly smashed avocado. Likewise, the pulled pork was pleasant with its stringy BBQ pork shoulder that maintained a delicious salt and chili flavor.
Next was the Southern-fried chicken with ‘biscuits’ and country gravy & Kentucky style barbequed Wurrook Superfine merino with fried green tomatoes and pickled vegetables. The Southern Fried chicken was well prepared and finger-licking delicious. The ‘biscuit’ was interesting and had a doughy base that was covered with a pleasant mayonnaise. The country gravy had a surprisingly hot chili taste that was well-paired with the fried chicken.
The merino was nice, but I found it be a little tough and bland. The fried green tomato married well with the merino and was visually pleasing, with most patrons curious to its preparation and flavours.
The final dish for the night was a 16 hour smoked beef brisket with BBQ sauce and coleslaw. It was the star of the night with the brisket being soft and tendered with a pleasant rub flavours on the surface. Matched with home-made coleslaw and with a sweet sauce, each mouthful was better than the last.
Crabapple Kitchen offers an inviting and homely décor – one cannot go passed and not notice the very linear wall of photo frames, which sets the scene for a special Friday night dinner. The menu shows a real effort in serving a traditional meal that is accurate to its country of origin. The staff are friendly and very accommodating, making for an extra special night. Crabapple Friday night flights is an authentic food experience, passport or not.