- Greek Salad
- Seafood and Chorizo Paella
- Mixed Grill Platter
The Greek Salad was very delicious. While appearing rather ordinary, with fresh and crispy greens, Roma tomatoes bursting with juices and richly flavoured olives, this otherwise perfectly serviceable salad was made extraordinary by the chef's special salad dressing. The unique dressing tasted unconventional and had a very intricate combination of flavours, with a hint of zing from the lemon and a slight sweet aftertaste. The chef says it's a secret sauce, which contained olive oil, lemon and a bit of fish sauce. However I'm quite certain there's a fair bit more to it given how pleasant and diverse the dressing tasted. The secret of course, won't be revealed. Ever.
The Seafood and Chorizo Paella was also a pleasant surprise and the initial impression certainly didn't do it justice. Deliberately substituted with Basmati rice, this rice dish was made without compromise to quality. Made entirely with pure saffron as opposed to tumeric substitution, the flavours were robust and forward. Combined with the abundance of fresh shellfish and giant king prawns, this paella was undoubtedly a seafood lover's paradise. All aspects of the paella was cooked to perfection, from the soft, fragrant rice to the lightly charred yet juicy and bold chorizo. Being a traditionalist, I'd say that this was the best modern rendition of the Spanish rice dish.
What a sight that Mixed Grill Platter was, and it surely didn't disappoint. Generously filled kebabs full of succulent, tender and flavoursome protein was spiced to perfection with a mix of home made herbs and spices known only to the chef. The highlight for me though was the minced lamb, which was bursting with lamb aroma accompanied by bold spices. All kebabs were exceptionally succulent and soft, all exhibiting fresh flavours from their proteins. Complemented by a bed of basmati rice with an occasional sweet raisin, this was definitely much more than just any ordinary kebab and is a must try for any meat lover.
It definitely shows when the person dishing out the food has been a chef at top-tier hotels for more than 30 years.
With this kind of experience, it's not surprising that the execution and finesse of the dishes tonight made for an absolutely sensational and rather flawless meal. Chef Tharwat's modern twist to staples like salad and paella was exceptional and definitely not something anyone can pull off.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
Without a doubt. Casa Besta definitely served up one of the best modern Mediterranean meals I've had in Melbourne, and I am incredibly thankful to have been invited to sample their offerings.
As the Chef Tharwat recommended, I'm keen to bring some of my hungry friends back to smash that HUGE Casa Besta King Grill BBQ, but that's a story for another day.