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Vanessa has already given an overview of the fantastically low-priced Stamford Plaza's prawn promotion. I visited as the lucky taste tester who got to sit in Harry's Restaurant under the low lighting in this intimate five star restaurant and experience firsthand the prawn dishes on offer.
Our first course was a shared bucket of prawns on ice. At only $26 this was unbelievable value. It involved 250 grams (12-15 large sized prawns) with a crisp green salad and a bowl of house made cocktail sauce for dipping. As I swilled my fingers in the bowl of accompnaying water supplied I tried to wrestle the ingredients of the creamy tangy sauce from the waiter but I rather think it is chef's secret and probably rightly so.
Sitting indulgently eating a bucket of prawns reminded me of the famous attraction in Port Douglas where tourists sit at the bar, known as On the Inlet, with the nightly special of a bucket of prawns and a beer or wine and watch the yachts return safely to their moorings as the sun sets.
While it sound idyllic the thing I remember mostly was slapping annoying biting insects so I far preferred being in Harry's restaurant in five star opulence.
And the prawns were as fresh as they tasted back then fresh off a trawler.
We were also fortunate enough to taste the other dishes in Harry's Restaurant's present promotion.
If one can have a personal favourite, amongst so many great dishes, mine would have to be the wasabi prawn cutlets with an avocado & tomato salsa ($24). The hot prospect of wasabi would not normally have encouraged me to order this dish but as we were tasting down the prawn promotion menu I gave it a go.
Rest assured this is definitely not the normal knock-your-socks off and kick-your-back-teeth-out style of wasabi but rather a subtle infusion with a gentle nudge in the warm direction.
The plumped up prawns looked like comfy cushions. The golden-brown, crispy coating of crunchy batter was delectable with the prawns hidden inside. This was served with a gentle meld of avocado chunks, minuscule squares of finely diced red onion and juicy tomato pieces--joined in wedlock into a delightful salsa.
One of the reasons the wasabi really worked in this dish was because of the creamy avocado and refreshing tanginess of whatever the magical additions were. It was the sort of salsa where you sit pondering trying to deconstruct all the components as it had the perfect accompanying tang.
The Creole style prawn $19 with citrus chimichurri & garlic rice were a totally different dish again. You could come back four times to the Stamford Plaza's Harry's Restaurant and order prawns alone and have four completely different culinary experiences.
The various elements in this dish such as the prawns and round of fresh lime had scorch marks ridges from being perfectly charred. The rice was buttery and embedded with a confettii of fresh parsley which melded perfectly with the zestiness of the chimichurri.
The garlic prawn linguini with chilli, tomatoes, spinach & rocket also came in at only $19. Not normally a pasta fan I was surprised at how wonderful fresh pasta cooked al dente can taste when it is cooked properly,
The edges of the cherry tomatoes were slightly shrivelled but still succulent from the expert way they had been cooked and had some of the taste intensity one finds in dried tomatoes. But this sweetness was offset by the slight bitterness from the rocket. The chilli worked perfectly. Not too hot but enough bite to make its presence felt.
The recommended wine with our dish was a glass of Hunters Pinot Grigio, a lighter wine that pairs perfectly with seafood. ($10.50)
But I must admit to lashing out before the meal and having a white knight-tini, cocktail ($15). I think I found the kick the wasabi had been hiding as this special cocktail involved good dose of Citron vodka and Mailbu rum and was then soothed down with lime and sweet pineapple. My decadent full glass was swirly and cloudy and what a delicious surprise at the end to find fresh blueberries lurking down the bottom with the added bonus that they were plumped full of soaked up alcohol. A further surprise was that what appeared to be salt around the edge of the glass was in fact popping candy. So did I lick the edge of my glass in this classy establishment? I'm not saying but let's say for a few minutes I felt like I was in Willy Wonka Heaven.
As for the overall cost of the meal--well last week I was in a suburban pub where a mediocre steak, four fat chips and a bland rocket salad washed accompanied by two glasses of soda water cost me $44.
So I don't known how the 5 star Stamford Plaza does what they do in serving normally expensive prawn dishes for the incentive price of $19 -$26. This is certainly not happening elsewhere.
Hats off chefs Ketan Seth, the executive chef who came up with all these great creations, and Chef Bradley Grifford who prepared our food on the night as our meals were simply perfect.
The restaurant is in an intimate setting (the restaurant section of Harry's Restaurant & Bar holds about 46 people) and the meal was perfect and serenity seemed assure. But I managed to create possible chaos when I managed to spill my drink.
Fortunately it was only water and it was before I had that decadent cocktail and glass of wine. I swear. I was pleasantly surprised at how well our lovely waitress handled the situation; quickly whipping out the white starched crisp tablecloth, huge napkins and silverware from under us almost like a magician doing a trick. Tragedy was averted all with the wave of a magic wand.
I would genuinely like to recommend this prawn promotion at the Stamford Plaza as the prices are amazing, the servings generous and the chefing perfecto!
The prawn dishes will be included in Harry's Restaurant & Bar, lunch and dinner menu for the month of March.
Harry's Restaurant & Bar often come up with these special well-priced promotions so it is worth keeping an eye on what this innovative hotel is up to. This prawn promotion follows hot on the heels of their organic Clover lamb dish promotion last spring. For an overview of those incredible dishes click here.
They also currently have a Valentine's Day promotion that sounds like a lot of fun. Click here.
As a tip a shared bucket of the prawns would be a great after work or pre-dinner treat especially with the $5 schooners of house beer, wine or bubbly during happy hour which are from 4-6pm daily.
I always come away from Harry's Bar & Restaurant totally enthused by what I might be able to do in terms of my own cooking especially in term of ingredients and food styling It only lasts a few weeks as I always fall short but I am genuinely inspired.
Please see how to book for their succulent prawn promotion below.