Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess – a look into their menu

Disclaimer: We attended the Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess launch as invited guests (free of charge) of Dutch Courage and Ford Digital Agency. My comments are a reflection of my experience, which may have been non-standard, but remain completely honest and my own.

Dutch Courage Officers' Mess

What I find particularly poetic about Alfred Street’s latest addition, gin bar Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess is that owner Matthew Hilan was a former Air Combat Officer in the RAAF. He is well familiar with the history of the classic gin and tonic and its moniker ‘Dutch Courage’ – also known as ‘liquid courage’. It sprang from the legend Dutch soldiers drank gin to warm and calm the body before battle. Dutch Courage has drawn inspiration from the British Empire in the 19th century. Hailing from one such British colony, I loved that there were little exotic references scattered around the place – spy the wooden crocodile!

Unfortunately I didn’t get to taste any of the cocktails (crazy launch party!), but on the food front, I think Dutch Courage has some menu items worthy of your salivation.

Dutch Courage Officers' Mess

Dutch Courage Officers' Mess

Cayenne and black pepper calamari. AUD$15

GOTTA TRY

Top on the list for me goes to the seared camel tenderloin, served with a potato rosti and juniper berry jus. I have never had camel, but the flavour was similar to roo without the overpowering gaminess. Sourced from north Western Australia, the tender camel tenderloin was seared with an orange tea marinade. It sliced and piled on the rosti disc, then topped with some sweet potato crisps.

Dutch Courage Officers' Mess

Camel tenderloin. AUD$19

 

Dutch Courage Officers' Mess

Tempura barramundi pieces. AUD$17

The tempura battered barramundi was a very popular number (it was one of the launch party canapes). Served with a lemon myrtle and ginger mayo (not as strong or strange as you might think), these fish pieces were a very delicious filling alternative to chips. Which are also available, but come on! Fish! And these lightly battered pieces were way better than fish fingers, both in flavour and texture.

 

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Dutch Courage’s vego option, the chickpea fritter (AUD$15) was a stunner on the plate and at $15, came heaped with roasted vegetables (eggplant on this occasion), leek frisee and a capsicum vinaigrette. The result was a very moorish substantial plate that might have your omnivores/carnivores friends envious for a change. And unlikely most of the menu, you’ll need to attack this one with a fork and knife.

And while I know salt and pepper calamari has done to death, a really good calamari you’re willing to talk about is rare. These strips of calamari don’t have the characteristic curl and have a little trouble holding up their own weight (read: limp), but they were soooo tender. Spiced with black pepper and cayenne, this interpretation packed a bit more punch, which in my book is always a good.

You know I love my seafood and scallops is one of my top faves. Any chef worth their salt in my eyes should source beautiful plump scallops from a reliable supplier and cook it to perfection (ie. DON’T RUIN IT!). Dutch Courage’s version of Hervey Bay Scallops (AUD$20) is gin cured with little segments of mandarin and a cream sauce.

Dutch Courage Officers' Mess

St Helen’s oysters: natural with Himalayan salt and lime AUD$11, hoisin with coriander and chilli AUD$12, and gin-cured with Bloody Mary consommé of red snapper AUD$15

Dutch Courage Officers' Mess

Special: stirfried duck with couscous

 

Dutch Courage Officers' Mess on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer: We attended the Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess launch as invited guests (free of charge) of Dutch Courage and Ford Digital Agency. My comments are a reflection of my experience, which may have been non-standard, but remain completely honest and my own.