Lord Cardigan…. what a name, it’s certainly got a ring to it! Established in 2007, this restaurant was started by a husband and wife combination, John Singer and Dominique Bolger. There’s only one reason why I would go to the effort to read the ‘About Us’ page on their website, it’s because I freaken love this place! What started out as a filler dinner, ended up being one of the best dining experiences for me in 2018. We’re still early in the year, so Lord Cardigan better put the brakes on a bit to allow the others to catch up!
The restaurant welcomed us to vinyl seats, wallpaper and hanging pot plants from the ceiling. There were also pictures of flowers on the wall. Had we jumped into a time machine and gone back in time!? We looked around and we were by far their youngest customers. Amidst feeling a little weird at the start, I soon relaxed and embraced an era beyond my years.
We were greeted by some of the friendliest staff ever, who guided us through the menu in a warmly fashion. It was a great menu indeed, as we really struggled to pick what we wanted. The confidence shines through, and I could tell that these guys were not afraid to ‘do it different’. After much pondering we finally settled on some oysters, various ‘taste’ dishes, the Flinders Island lamb shoulder baked in filo pastry, and the ocean trout fish special. The taste dishes were bite size and $7.50 each. It’s a great concept because it gives you the opportunity to try more dishes without having to spend a fortune.
The Pacific oysters were extremely fresh, with the mignonette dressing and lemon providing the perfect acidic touch. At this stage I was impressed, they got fresh produce and can make a mean sauce, but I was eager to see what else they could do. They respond to the challenge by punching out some of the best bite size dishes I’ve ever had! You know the competition is fierce when the most perfectly seared scallop loses out to quail wrapped in ham. This quail was boned and wrapped in Kaiserfleisch ham with a truffle and balsamic dressing. It was oh so tasty, so make sure you grab one when you come here.
Little did I know that the best was yet to come… it was so good that it’s made it to my top list of fish dishes in Australia. I had given up hope of eating a fish as good as a flounder I had at a particular restaurant in the Melbourne CBD. It was cooked so beautifully, I almost cried! I stared at this ocean trout in awe, as I couldn’t believe how good it was. Being the supportive wife she is, Helen left me alone to savour this moment between myself and this fish. The skin was ultra crispy, with the meat inside just barely cooked. Which chef dares to push the boundaries like this with a fish!?! I’m convinced there’s a madman lurking somewhere in the kitchen! The Asian inspired sauce accentuated the sweetness of the ocean trout. As it’s a special, I may not get to try this fish again. However the memories will live on for many years to come, this I can guarantee.
On our trip back home, we couldn’t stop talking about the memorable experience we had at Lord Cardigan. These guys really are the real deal, and we cannot wait to come back. No ifs and no buts people, Lord Cardigan is a MUST TRY!
Approx $60 AUD per person
Address: 59 Cardigan Place, Albert Park VIC 3206
Phone: +61 3 9645 5305