Recently, Groupon had a great deal for All-You-Can-Eat tapas at Equinox Cafe Bar right next to Melbourne Central. My friend thought it would be good for us to try that out, and then go to Max Brenner after, so we ventured out into the city today and made a lovely afternoon out of it.
The deal of course came with a whole lot of Fine Print, mostly to protect the restaurant from food wastage. To me they were fair enough e.g. 90-minute seating time (although you can stay longer if you want, just can't order anymore food), only ordering 2 dishes at a time per person, both plates must be consumed before ordering next plates (although we were given an "ordering chart" where we could order 3 rounds of food in advance so they can make sure it's prepared so it can be served quicker), any uneaten food must be paid for, etc etc. I didn't have any issues with those fine print, to me it was necessary to protect the restaurant.
We were seated in a nice, cosy little corner away from everybody else, which was really great because we could block my son Micah in and let him have a crawl around without him getting to too much mischief! Even though it seems like we're in a quiet corner, the staff never forgot about us, and were very good at checking up to make sure we're all good and that the food is okay and that we were happy, if we needed anything, and delivered our meals very promptly.
While we were deciding which dishes to order on our given chart, we were served complimentary garlic bread. The garlic bread was so tasty, especially since we did rock up pretty hungry to get the most value out of this deal, and although we knew this plate of garlic bread is a "trick" to fill us up before we even begin eating our meals, we couldn't resist eating some of it because it was deliciously garlicky and buttery and the toast was crispy and light and fluffy!
So here we go, the food marathon begins. We started off with the Spicy Buffalo Chicken Wings, which were basically fried marinated chicken wings tossed with a Spicy Mexican Tobasco Buffalo sauce. I love the fact that the chicken wings were fried first, and then coated with the sauce and sprinkled with a bit of sesame seeds. They were delicious wings, although the menu had three chilli peppers next to the item to symbolize the level of hotness, it wasn't that hot for us and could definitely be a lot hotter!
Next up were the Five Spiced Calamari. You can't really go wrong with Five Spice and fried calamari. I thought the flavours were strong enough and wonderfully salty (I love salty food), I meant well seasoned! The batter was light and crispy and calamari beautifully cooked, not too chewy. Pretty happy!
Then came the Garlic Prawns which were pan fried with garlic, butter and chilli. The prawns were cooked really well and the flavours were quite strong, I just wished there was more of a sauce thing going on that plate but oh well, they were gone in less than a minute!
Then came the Cheese and Bacon Potato Skins, need I say more?! Oh my goodness potatooooo skinnnnnnsssss... they were delicious, but I thought the potatoes needed a little bit more seasoning and a little bit more gooey cheese on top would've been perfect! Probably a good thing they didn't have as much cheese though, better for my waistline...
At this point, I need to let you guys know that between just the two of us eating, two Asian girls, we ordered THREE serves of chicken wings, lol. Each serve had half a dozen pieces of wings, lol. We were totally stuffed and winged-out by the end of lunch!!
Next came the Fried Chicken Wings served with Sweet Chilli sauce. There was absolutely nothing wrong with them, but to compare these wings which were just fried with not much sauce or flavour to them, they just faded in comparison to the other two chicken wing dishes.
The Tamarind Chicken Wings was my favorite out of the three. I absolutely loved the tamarind sauce coating on those chicken wings with a hint of spring onions and coriander. Absolutely beautiful! I probably ate more than my fair share of these wings, hehe.
Don't worry, we're almost at the end of our food marathon. People, if you are reading this because you have purchased this Groupon voucher yourself, and you are just doing a bit research before making your booking, and you love beef, then you will LOVE these Grilled Mini Beef Tenderloins with Soy and Butter sauce. The meat's really juicy and tender even though it's been cooked to medium (I usually prefer my beef medium rare, more towards rare). They are also so tiny and little so they barely take up any room in your tummy! Could've had more of these I reckon... but after our last and final dish coming up next, we just didn't have ANY room left!
Here's the reason why we just couldn't go on any further. Trio Mini Burgers! We have been pretty good so far to only order mostly protein dishes, but this last one had a lot of carb which filled us up good. Don't get me wrong, it is really delicious and fresh bread, and these burgers are tasty and I love those spicy jalapenos on them! The meat patty had great flavour too, so we had no regrets having these, just glad we saved it for last because if we had these nice and early we probably would've ordered a lot less dishes.
So there you go, we managed to order and eat 8 dishes altogether. For $39 plus one drink each, that is GREAT value for money so we were pretty happy. The best thing about this deal was the level of service we received from the staff at Equinox. We were served by two lovely gentlemen who were very attentive, polite and friendly. I am usually very skeptical when it comes to dining at a new restaurant using a group buying voucher, because I have had some rude experiences in the past! I don't know why but I just shouldn't feel less important as a customer just because I am using a voucher to dine at a significantly reduced price.
These guys did not make us feel any less important at all. They were amazing. THANK YOU so much to the people at Equinox Cafe Bar for a lovely lunch, and thank you again for letting us have the cosy corner all to ourselves... well, all for Micah anyway lol.
Oh, and yes we went to Max Brenner after for dessert and had their amazing chocolate fondue. There is apparently a completely separate stomach for dessert!