The Last Jar – Prawn Festival
616 Elizabeth Street, CBD, Melbourne
03 9348 2957
Bar Food, Irish
Potted Garlic Prawn Tails
Skewers on the Char Grill
Sauteed Whole Prawns & Streaky Bacon
Classic Prawn Bisque
This special menu from The Last Jar pub was formed as part of the inaugural Prawn Festival which echoes the Howth Prawn Festival taking place in Ireland.
The Potted Garlic Prawns were a really fantastically executed take on the classic garlic prawn. Served in a glass with a really well balanced sauce, it was tempting to just down the rest of it from the cup, but we were thankful for the soda bread, its interestingly cakey texture cleaning up the flavour nicely. The prawn skewers were cooked perfectly, the smoke and the flames from the grill really adding to the fresh prawns, but the slightly tangy dollops of lemon crème fraîche really elevated the dish to something a little bit more refined.
The prawn popcorn, or the self-titled “Poprawn” was an incredibly unexpected presentation of prawns and it consisted of prawns, with chorizo sausage, popcorn, cayenne and citrus zest. The savoury prawns went excellently with quite a spicy hit with the chorizo while the slightly chewy popcorn provided extra textural interest. The final two dishes were the sauteed prawns with streaky bacon and the prawn bisque.
The Sauteed Prawn dish again was made up of well-cooked fresh prawns with bacon, almonds and tarragon, an ingredient list which couldn’t possibly be bad. The little bit of smokiness incorporated into the dish was very welcome.
However the highlight of this prawn-heavy selection is definitely the prawn bisque, as it had such savoury presence and such depth of flavour we really could’ve been served straight from the pot. The beautifully smooth texture and slight heat from the seasoning was punctuated with the Irish Whiskey foam, a genius addition that both added flavour and was a nod to Irish culture.
Given the context of all the other interesting twists on what can be done with prawns, and while it tasted very good, with a nice sauce and perfectly cooked prawns, the cocktail could have been treated with a little more excitement that would match the rest of the selections.
Pub food often gets a bad rap, but The Last Jar is an excellent pub venue, with excellent service and tasty food. With exceptionally fresh prawns sourced from Lakes Entrance, coupled with some thought and a little bit of experimentation, we were definitely impressed by the dishes served today.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
Definitely. Such a shame that the bisque doesn’t really suit the Australian summer, because a few mugs of it will warm the cockles of your heart in the dead of winter. Many thanks to Simon, Chef Damon Budd and the team at The Last Jar for their inviting us.