The word mud is not as incongruous with the idea of food as you might initially think. Case in point. My first foray into cooking was mud pie, decorated with the berries and leaves of the Cotoneaster, a-la Christmas pudding. You might appreciate the juxtaposition of a contemporary dining establishment perched on the edge of the Tamar River’s silt flats. The name Mud is an obvious choice. It was certainly the obvious choice for dinner on our recent sojourn north.
True confessions time. I’ve eaten there, years and years ago. Too many to count, when the development on the banks of the city’s river was sparkling and new. A little like me at the time. I was nonplussed and perhaps naive. Not so much now. What a wonderful experience, and I’m not not just talking about learning to give something a second chance. Today I cook in a kitchen, good food with great ingredients. It’s a lifetime away from those mud pies. So is the Mudbar of today compared with my younger years. Don’t diss maturation.
Mudbar is our northern friends’ first port of call. It’s an attractive restaurant no doubt, with stylish art, modern furnishings and low lighting (damn those iPhone photos!). It’s compact on one level yet there’s room enough that you don’t have to enjoy the company of the next table. Did I say it’s attractive? There’s a lot to be said for a good looking venue.
I’ve led you on long enough, let’s talk food and drinks. There’s an admirable drinks menu that’s worthy of broader exploration than just the cocktails. I got a little stuck there, circling about shark-like, but my fine feathered friends enjoyed beers and wine by the glasses and at some point (well the end of the meal obviomente) the most excellent of dessert wines. The name is now lost on me but the experience is still close to my heart.
Mudbar describes itself as Asian-Euro-fusion. Each plate enjoys deep, complex flavours that lean more towards its Asian influences. Each piece of fish or meat we ate was cooked to perfection, succulent and tender. Seafood is a major focus but if you prefer to feed that to your cats there are several stunning lamb and pork options. There’s also a vegetarian/vegan menu. In my pre-dinner research I’d decided on one or two of the vego options.
Some people don’t appreciate tofu but I think it is a very supportive ingredient that isn’t afraid to embrace bold flavours. The Sichuan peppered tofu with peanut sauce/chilli, kaffir, Vietnamese mint salad and crispy coriander took my fancy. Sitting in front of the menu my previous musings went out the window. I didn’t get beyond the seafood. Notwithstanding those vegetarian dishes which are individually priced, the menu does ask for a small commitment from you: 2 courses are $60 and 3 courses are $78 with a surcharge for the oysters.
What we ate:
- Mixed oyster plate – nahm jim, ponzu and natural (1/2 dozen), $20
- Scallop, abalone ravioli, Balinese sour soup, green onion, shiso, coconut cream
- Dijon, soy roasted lamb loin with Mudbarfarm lamb/ burnt baby carrots, miso, cumin/tumeric, coconut yoghurt
- Crisp pork belly with carrot, ginger puree/black beans, Korean kimchi sauce
- Crisp Scottsdale pork belly with bokchoy/ roasted peanut sauce/ Thai basil, herbs, cucumber salad
- Ginger white fish, prawn, salmon with roast pumpkin and coconut/cucumber, lime, radish, coriander
- Blue mussel, lemongrass yellow curry with sticky mirin rice, Asian herbs, chiffonade
- Crisp salt and vinegar potatoes, $9
Another way I can demonstrate my appreciation of the menu is this. I’ve never ordered scallop or mussels in my life. Ever. I’m just a little cautious of those sea teabags. But I had enough enthusiasm and confidence in the menu that I wanted to take a risk. It paid off. My full of flavour choices were probably on the lighter side of the dishes on offer. More substantial plates were definitely the meat dishes and if you’re super-hungry you might go a side or two.
Mudbar was a wonderful venue to enjoy a terrific meal and very good service with our great company for the evening.
If you’re heading north, make a reso.
Find more about Mudbar including their menu and better photos on the their website –https://www.mudbar.com.au/.
A couple of other Launceston tips – Inside Cafe http://livinglovinghobart.com.au/2016/09/01/inside-cafe-launceston/