I'd noticed The Lokal sporting a long queue every time I go past it, and I'd thought that it had to be a really awesome restaurant. The brunch menu wasn't particularly enticing, but the dinner menu looked interesting enough, and so we popped by for dinner during off-peak hours on a week-night.
Dinner turned out a middling affair, a sentiment echoed by my foodie pals Izzy and Pet. I was plainly unimpressed by The Lokal, and it's unfathomable the crowds thronging the cafe-restaurant. The food, a small-ish menu of modern Australian fare, was a hit-and-miss, and lacking that something-something. Like Izzy says, "it's not quite there".
The Cauliflower Three-Ways ($13) comprised cauliflower cooked a variety of manners: battered and fried, pickled, and mashed. Dotted with homemade ricotta, almonds, mesclun and a tangy vinaigrette, it passed muster, but veered to the forgettable.
The Beef Short Ribs ($30) were fall-off-the-bone tender, but the carrot-ginger puree, speckled with gingko nuts, was too saccharine a counter to the sweet sumptuousness of the meat. That said, the tendon was cooked perfectly, a delightful chewy texture.
The Pork Chop ($28) was also a mixed bag, where the pork was ah-mazing in its lusciousness, but it was unfortunate that the kale salad, flecked with green beans, green apple chips, and walnuts, was dressed in a whey emulsion that was off-puttingly rancid.
We also got a couple of sides to share amongst the table, and the Mashed Potato & Gravy ($10) was hearty but unmemorable. I'd expected the gravy thicker and with more heft but this was really more a thin red wine jus.
The Sauteed King Oyster Mushrooms & Bacon ($8) was lovely, the crisp of the bacon a wonderful contrast against the springy juiciness of the mushrooms.
136 Neil Road
Tel: 6423 9918
Open Tuesdays to Fridays from 8am to 10pm;
Saturdays from 9am to 10pm;
Sundays from 9am to 4pm;
Mondays from 8am to 5pm