Maybe it's my short comings as a food connoisseur, or maybe it's genuinely uncommon, but I've never had my uncooked meal brought to me with a 400°C plate of 'volcanic' rock on the side. When I heard this was the standard for Lava Stone restaurant in Mt Lawley, I scraped together the last of my money, grabbed a friend and began to imagine a 'Temple of Doom' style feast in which no culinary oddity would be denied.
Sadly, there were no monkey brains or snake babies.
The intimidating cutlery awaiting was oddly reminiscent of the knife used by our very own tax-dodging superstar Paul Hogan in that one film he did, which is ironic because crocodile is actually offered on the menu. Unlike tax-evasion however, the Lava Stone set-up is simple: you pick a meat/vegetable combination from the menu and it's semi-promptly delivered to your table, raw, with a superheated rock plate.
The main's menu has the regulars, steak (eye fillet with mushrooms) pork and chicken, but the novelty of super-heated plates is probably best strengthened by the 'game platter' – a combination of kangaroo, venison, crocodile and wild boar. Yeah, you read right. You can leave this restaurant after cooking hunks of crocodile and wild boar on 400°C plate of stone.
Despite my initial excitement surrounding what I considered to be an exotic meal, I wound up keeping things simple, and requested the steak. I was a little put out at first, that I was by all outward signs paying to cook my own food, but after some grumbling I warmed to the idea – and had no one to blame but myself when it wasn't cooked exactly how I wanted it. Now, this is where reviewing Lava Stone hits a snag: Despite the cut, quality and presentation of the meat being in the hands of the chefs (and it is good), the final cooking of the actual meal falls on you. So while I enjoyed a small but tasty cut of steak cooked close to my tastes, a friend's haphazard cooking technique led to a less than enjoyable piece of chicken.
I was half-expecting to cook my own pancakes as a dessert when I was informed that I could have ice-cream on a super-chilled stone. While not as exciting as its super-heated twin, it was definitely a nice touch.
Dinner at Lava Stone is about $30 a mains (that's including tax, Paul) so not hugely cheap, but definitely worth a look in if the novelty of the 'volcanic' method of cooking piques your interest. If you don't want to pay and be responsible for the quality of your meal, then perhaps a walk into Mt Lawley proper may be in order.