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'From the Sea' Seafood Promotion - Stamford Plaza Melbourne Hotel

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
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Mussels, crabs and warm hospitality @ Stamford Plaza Hotel


Now here is something to whet your appetite. Ketan Seth, Executive Chef at the Stamford Plaza, was kind enough to visit our table and introduce the crab and mussel dishes featured in Harry's Bar and Restaurant's special April promotion "From the Sea."

In chatting he told us about his two years spent in France, where he would walk along the beach at Nice and watch the locals cooking up pots of steaming fresh mussels (or moules as they are called in French). They would add simple ingredients," he said "like garlic, onion and wine."

It presented an amusing image. Only the culinary French would think of carrying wine and garlic with them on an outing to the beach in the hope of foraging enough mussels to fill a pot.

Harry's bar and restaurant Stamford plaza Melbourne
Graeme Bird the chef who knows the timing for steaming perfect mussels and Ketan Seth, Executive Chef at the Stamford Plaza Hotel."


Ketan, who has travelled the world, including working at Dubai's Raffles hotels and The Atlantis, also told us of coming to Melbourne. "In our early weekend jaunts of discovering the region, my wife and I went to Port Arlington where we discovered the joys of buying fresh Australian Blue Mussels straight off the fishing boats."

"They were so wonderfully fresh," he said "we bought bags of them and ate them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Such was our delight."

When our own moules arrived at our table, they were also from Port Arlington; their midnight blue shells with nature's spiral patterning shimmering in the flickering candlelight.

Harry bar and restaurant Stamford plaza Melbourne
Midnight blue shells with nature's spiral patternings shimmering in the flickering candlelight.


They were served in a huge bowl with a confetti-like coverlet of minutely chopped garlic, shallots and rich green parsley. The dice was so delicate the overlay resembled grains of rice in a risotto.

Harry bar and restaurant Stamford plaza Melbourne
This orgasmic experience of Portarlington mussels with shallot, garlic, double cream & parsley (served with French fries & olive oil toasted bread) is $22. wrap="0


Keth's version of this French dish includes a splodge of double cream so that as we mined our way down it formed a lovely, buttery pale-yellow broth beneath. We tore into the pieces of accompanying chargrilled olive oil bread mopping up the luxurious liquid.

Harry bar and restaurant Stamford plaza Melbourne
A lovely, buttery pale-yellow broth beneath.


Despite the plush surroundings of white-linen napkins and silver cutlery we ate as one might on a beach in France using an empty shell to prise the dainty mussels from their moorings in the other shells.

While I had tried mussels before, I had never thought of lusting after them quite like this. From the first taste they were succulently sweet, plump and tender morsels with the slightest tang of saltiness from the sea.

During the evening we asked various staff members, including our delightful waiter Amber, about their favourite dish in this special promotion.

After they held their staff tastings most had been unanimous in their choice. The black pepper crab with fragrant jasmine rice ($32). And so it arrived with more legs on display than a chorus line. While this is a popular hawker style Singaporean dish, this one has the special Ketan Seth kick.

With more legs than a chorus line. Black pepper crab with fragrant Jasmine rice $32. Wok fried king crab legs smothered in a thick oyster sauce, spiced with peppercorn, chilli & jasmine rice


The wok-fried king crab legs were in a thick oyster sauce, with the piquancy of crushed peppercorns, the tang of soya bean paste, the slight heat of chilli and just the right dose of sugar to produce a sticky toffee-like sensation. The dish in fact resembles the blackness of treacle with startling green shamrocks of coriander scattered on the darkness.

We were given shell crackers to break the hard exteriors and then used beautifully ornate long stemmed pickers to burrow out the sweet flesh.

Again this is a dish to glory in with all it spiciness and sweetness and the thick lush toffeeness of the sauce, which could be soaked up with the accompanying Jasmine rice.



Thank goodness for the bowl of fresh lemon water as I am afraid our startling white napkins were virginal-white no longer.

The other two dishes in the promotion are perhaps for those who want to stay within their comfort zone and order creations with a strong familiarity but an interesting twist.



Panko crusted Soft Shell Crab Burger $19 Feta cheese, avocado & sweet potato chips


Harry's Bar and Restaurant are famous for their burgers, which feature options from around the globe. The panko crusted soft shell crab burger ($19) is a new addition. It comes in a soft lush round roll with the zing of feta cheese and a creamy slice of avocado. The side of perfectly cooked sweet potato chips are a creation in themselves.

The pasta dish offers the best of both seaworlds as it includes a generous scattering of the Portarlington mussels and a thick underlay of buttery Blue Swimmer Crab. As the flesh is already shredded all of the work of deshelling has been done for you.

Harry bar and restaurant Stamford plaza Melbourne
Penne with Blue Swimmer crab & mussels, lemon, garlic butter, basil & green peas and cherry tomatoes, $19


Imagine perfectly cooked penne pasta, with lemon, garlic butter, basil, green peas and little succulent cannon balls of slightly seared cherry tomatoes that explode in your mouth. All this with both a top and bottom layer of the bounty from the sea. Perfection!

We washed down Seth's seafood creations with a couple of glasses of 2015 Rise Riesling, from the Clare Valley. This drop had the subtle aroma of lemon and lime blossom and a tantalising tang of lime on the palate.

The Stamford Plaza's Autumn seafood promotion is on until the end of April but let's hope that some of these amazing dishes stay "Alive, alive-O!" on their already extensive menu.

For reservations, call 03 9659 1592 or email harrys@spm.stamford.com.au
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Why? For deluxe seafood at an excellent price
When: During April lunch and dinner
Phone: For reservations, call 03 9659 1592 or email harrys@spm.stamford.com.au
Where: Harry's Bar and Restaurant at the Stamford Plaza Hotel
Cost: From as little as $19
Your Comment
Nadine, you are the Queen of Food articles. Looking at your beautiful pictures just makes my mouth water! Great read too :) You've done it again! Jen X
by Jen (score: 3|2369) 1258 days ago
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