Today was stifling hot in Melbourne and this evening, my friend and I decided to try out another tapas place. Hairy Canary is at 212 Little Collins street, up a small flight of stairs which opens out onto a bar.
By the bar, there's a chill out lounge area and past that are the dining tables. There are a few red leather benches and we were put into a corner where the leather seating had torn somewhat exposing the foam seating below.
Certainly not a good look in my opinion. Perhaps management are either too tight to re-upholster or are just trying to be trendy. Shabby chic can look good after all, when done correctly. Personally, I think management are too tight to replace it.
Nevertheless, the waiter (an Englishman who hails from the East Midlands) brought over some menus. The background music was funky ambient and certainly made for a relaxing atmosphere.
We ordered the good old 'Patatas Bravas with tomato salsa', 'Chickpea, pumpkin and spinach salad', and 'Chicken meatballs in spicy sauce'.
The patatas bravas arrived first. No sign of the tomato salsa, but as we dug in, we discovered it at the bottom of the dish. "Shouldn't it be at the top?!" we both proclaimed in unison. Shrugging, we carried on...
The potatoes were generously coated in paprika and were steaming hot which was good. All in all, a substantially sized portion with plenty enough for two.
The chickpea, pumpkin and spinach salad came out warm, but it lacked any real flavour. As a warm salad, it was OK. However, since I had already sampled the one at Bar Lourinhã, I have to say that theirs is miles better.
This one was nice enough as vegetables on their own. It really could have done with some oomph!
The chicken meatballs came covered in a basil infused yoghurt. It was certainly delicious and the tomato sauce was lovingly spicy. In fact, the sauce tasted very good over the chickpea, pumpkin and spinach salad.
It kind of reminded us of an Indian curry where you get the oily layer on the top. Not the healthiest of tapas I guess, but it was quite tasty.
Of course, no tapas meal is complete without churros. So, we decided to finish off with their churros con chocolate. The mini bitesize churros were lukewarm, covered in melted dark chocolate and sprinkled with pistachio crumbs.
They churros themselves were covered in cinnamon sugar, were too doughy and not crunchy enough for my liking.
Neither of us thought they were good, in fact, I would go as far to say that they were pretty awful.
All in all, the food was very average tonight. Apart from the upbeat English waiter, service was rather unfriendly. The waitress had forgotten to give us any cutlery for our doughnuts. Prompting my friend to pipe in that perhaps she thought we were animals considering the way that she was treating us.
In the end, my friend went to get our cutlery from the tray since we couldn't catch her attention. However, the waitress did notice and came over to apologise. After that, she seemed to lighten up a bit. All a little too late though.
Hairy Canary, I think is past its prime. A place with a good name and a good location. It could certainly do with a good update, an overhaul of its service and perhaps a new chef.
212 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel: +61 (0)3 9654 2471