The Left-Handed Chef, South Melbourne
The team and I headed down the road to The Left-Handed Chef for our penultimate group lunch before my forthcoming departure. I suggested the places, the guys picked, that’s democracy in action folks. Sometimes it doesn’t quite work (cough, USA) but here we were pleasantly surprised by this hidden gem. Interesting and mostly well-executed food, but a little sluggish on the delivery and service to make it entirely perfect.
The fittings of the store are quaint and curious, almost like sitting in the spare room of a grandparents’ house. There’s the mismatched chairs, curious antiquities and a literal grandfather clock watching you dine. The menu is rather extensive with plenty of choices and a few clear Israeli influences (and oddly, waffles) here and there. Possibly not anything more than in Katie’s order of the house special, which was falafel, pita, Israeli salad and side items. It looked fine but possibly not the dish she was after on this occasion.
I, as well as most of the diners around us, couldn’t go past the chicken and waffles ($17.50). Here, it’s done with a cheesy waffle, crispy bacon, avocado, slaw chicken and spicy BBQ sauce (not that spicy). With a bit of tweaking this could be a really great dish, and it was by all means a very good dish already. Ash and I shared our orders on this afternoon. The plate itself was huge (great for splitting) and is generous on every level from avo to bacon to chicken. Slight suggestions would be slaw being less dressed, the waffle being a bit bigger and cheesier and a sweeter sauce to contrast the flavours. But we were impressed nonetheless the meat was cooked well and the bacon was so tasty.
The other plate we shared was the chicken and mushroom salad ($16.50) with roasted chicken, sauteed mushrooms, sweet corn, avocado, pesto and aioli. Again this was a huge serving and the sheer amount of meat included is an admirable boon. We liked the mix of the flavours and served warm, felt like a complete dish with complementary flavours of pesto and aioli across the perfectly proportioned components.
Jenny went with the cauliflower fritters (not pictured due to laziness at reaching over the table) and Anthony had the Banoffee french toast ($16). This french toast interpretation had bricohe french toast topped with toffee sauce, fresh bananas and strawberries. Both guys seemed reasonably content with their choices. The only downer at The Left Handed Chef was the wait, which was a slight longer than we would have liked. Otherwise we’re glad to have checked out something new in The Left-Handed Chef and it’s definitely a gem worth discovering.