For my birthday each year I get to choose any restaurant I like for us to go as a family to for dinner. I thought for a long time about different places and where I would like to go, I eventually decided on Five bar in Highgate. I wanted to go there right up until I saw the menu for kitsch bar, the menu sounded fantastic with its quirky twist on tapas food. Would this be a good choice?

We entered and even though it was quite early it was already crowded, I mentioned to our waitress that we have a booking and she leads us to our table. We walk for what seems like a long time until we turn down a side alley of the restaurant and we are seated at a bench in a very dark alley that is barely two meters across. This was already a point against kitsch bar. The waitress came over and took our drink orders and my mum mentioned that she would like a sparkling water, without asking for clarification the waitress comes back with a 1100ml bottle of antipodes water (which we later found out was $14).

We then placed our orders and after a short wait the first of our dishes arrived. Looking at the menu this was the dish I was looking forward to the most, salt and pepper tofu with a hoi sin sauce. While being tasty I felt that this was just a bland copy of the way that chinese/Malaysians do tofu.

The next dish that we received was the prawn toast. This was quite an extravagant dish with the amount of prawns included but yet again I ultimately found it needed seasoning.

Next the first of our main dishes came out, this was a jungle curry of ocean trout served with crispy basil leaves. It seems to be a bit of a constant theme but this was another dish that needed seasoning but the trout was really fresh and did save this dish. I did find it quite expensive at $32.50 and it’s cheeky how they mention that it serves two when it was a very small serve.

Another dish came out and this was my favourite dish of the night. Spiced corn fritters, finally something that is seasoned sufficiently! I quite liked these.

The next thing we had was the crispy peppered duck. I quite liked how this was cut into pieces but deep-frying duck doesn’t work. The main reason that I find it doesn’t work is that you lose all that wonderful duck fat, this was pretty dry.

I was looking forward to the black angus beef but this was another dish that I was pretty disappointed with. On the menu it mentioned that it came with black vinegar, I loved this because I find that acidity goes fantastic with braised dishes. Once the dish arrived I was disappointed, I might as well have ordered dessert. It was just so sweet and not acidic at all.

The final dish of the night that we had was crispy pork shoulder served with an apple coleslaw. This had the potential to be tasty but in the grand ranking of pork dishes it just kind of rates as okay.

I know that I have been fairly critical of this place but it is kind of asking for a critical opinion, this isn’t a place that hedges its bets on safe menu items like steaks and parmigianas. This is the sort of places that tries new things. We left with a quite expensive bill and regret that we didn’t go to five bar in mount Lawley.

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