I discovered The Last Jar during the Melbourne Festival in 2012. It was October and the nights were still chilly. After seeing a show at the Melbourne Town Hall we dropped into the local Irish pub for some dinner. Stepping from the chilly night into the warm inviting dark-wood paneled bar with nary a tacky leprechaun to be seen, seated in a cosy corner and presented with some of the best Guinness in Melbourne- we were in love. The night only got better with amazing steaks, good music and a battered deep-fried poached egg with perfect oozy yolk that we still tell people about (it comes with the salt ling potato cake).
We have been a number of times since, always with a fantastic experience, so when The Bookworm nominated The Last Jar for his belated birthday dinner I was enthusiastic.
Then it got hot.
I have to admit to mild trepidation as we set out on a 35C evening (at 7pm)- but my fears were quickly allayed as we approached a sign that read "As cold as Dublin inside".
As it turns out the dark wood interior is as soothing in the heat as it is in the cold.
The Bookworm started out with some oysters.
Yes, I know, does life get much better?
The bread is superb (potato on the left and soda on the right). The potato bread is soft and moist and distinctly potato-y but my favourite is the treacle-rich and slightly bitter, chewy, oaty, soda bread. I could eat a whole loaf (and you can! The Last Jar will sell you a loaf to takeaway if you ring them up the day before).
The Bookworm ordered the Devilled Fish (ocean trout) - a taste sensation. A crunchy spicy coating on beautiful moist fish with intense slivers of meaty cuttlefish and a coriander and heirloom tomato salad; the flavours and contrasting textures had him swooning.
I cannot go past the steak. Potentially the best steak I have EVER eaten, I order it every time. This time I got the tenderloin, perfectly charred on the outside and tender on the inside (I'm a dag and order it medium) with a mountain of green salad beautifully dressed and big, thick, super crunchy potato chips.
The staff are exceptional, always attentive and friendly. My only ongoing disappointment is that I never have room to try the dessert. I suppose I could not eat ALL my chips, but trust me once you taste them, you will understand why I have to.