Degani South Melbourne
- Barra Nicoise Cakes
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Twice Cooked Octopus Tentacle
- Spiced Pulled Lamb
- Seafood Paella
- Vegetarian Jambalaya
- Chilli Mussels
- Lamb Tangine
- Fattoush Salad
- Vegetable Gratin
- Grilled Turkish Bread Dippers
- Espresso Panna Cotta With Berries
To start with, we were served a variety of beautifully presented and appetising tapas, with their colourful appearance and garnishes of herbs, edible flowers and sauces. First up was the crispy croquette with a creamy chicken centre and a nice kick from the accompanying mustard seeds. The Albondiga, a pork and veal meatball was soft, juicy and saucy - just as a meatball should be. The Barra Nicoise cake sat on a bed of lettuce leaves, and had a nice crunchy shell although the fish may have been a little overcooked. The two favourites of the night however, were the Stuffed Mushroom with its crisp, crunchy shell and melted cheesy inside and the Spiced Pulled Lamb. The lamb was nicely braised and tender and complemented perfectly with a serving of labneh.
The mains were a mix of Mediterranean and Moroccan inspired dishes. The seafood within the Paella was cooked to perfection, with the paella having a luxurious hit of saffron - but an oversight was no implements to crack into the crab. The Vegetarian Jambalaya, Fattoush Salad and Vegetable Gratin provided a luscious amount of vegetables for the night and provided a good balance amongst the other mains.
The Chilli Mussels were cooked exceptionally well and tasted delicious dipped with the accompanying soft Turkish bread. The Lamb Tangine was beautifully presented. Despite being not quite as tender as the spiced pulled lamb it was still tasty nonetheless.
For dessert, the Espresso Panna Cotta topped with an assortment of colourful berries looked spectacular in a cocktail glass. Unfortunately it did not taste as good as it looked. The panna cotta seemed to have split and was quite firm in texture rather than being silky smooth. The bitterness of the coffee combined with the sourness of the berries also didn't really work.
While it is well-known that Degani is a leading chain of cafes in Melbourne, this particular venue was beautifully decorated with class, making it feel like we were at a fine dining establishment.
It was a great night filled with good food, vibes and laughter. By the end of the night we were thoroughly stuffed. The service was second to none; staff were hospitable, prompt, attentive and quickly replaced our forks after having dropped it three or four times in a short span of time.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
While the mains were excellent, I was definitely more fond of their diverse and international take on tapas, which reflects the over 40 ethnicities that are employed at Degani. I'd very much return for more of those delicious tapas on our next visit.
With this calibre of food and service on offer, there is no doubt their ambitious expansion into the Sydney cafe scene will be nothing but a resounding success.
I would like to thank Degani for their hospitality and for inviting us to sample their new eastgardens menu.