Lodge Tapas brings warm hospitality and delicious food to Lane Cove
“Location, location, location!” says Matthew Lines, who owns co-owns Lodge Tapas with his wife Marketa Lines. “We’re a destination restaurant. It’s not uncommon for people to drive more than 20km to dine with us.” And if the packed restaurant and line out the door is anything to go by, then Lines is absolutely right about the popularity of Lodge Tapas.
Early in the evening, the restaurant has a wonderful family-friendly atmosphere – kids eat free after 5pm and there’s a child-safe play area just outside. After about 8pm, the family vibe gives way to a more intimate atmosphere. The interior is heated, with exposed brick and polished wood, with an eclectic selection of fairy lights, recessed lighting and candles. Indoor plants spill from a planter near the ceiling, and the low music and chatter immediately puts diners at ease.
The trendy yet sophisticated staff are very attentive and quickly bring us two of their signature cocktails to start. The Honey Apple ($16) is a Scotch-based, cinnamon-scented treat for the tastebuds, while the Burnt Orange and Vanilla Daiquiri ($16) is a citrus, fruity extravaganza with a definite kick of Bacardi. To accompany the drinks is our first appetiser – the mushroom arancini ($13) made with mushroom risotto, parmesan, white truffle oil and garlic aioli. It is everything a good arancini should be – not too heavy and cooked to a crispy perfection.
Next up is the pan-seared scallops ($19) with carrot puree, crispy pancetta and parmesan, which are “indescribable”, according to my very helpful dining companions. The wonderfully smooth texture, creamy carrot and pancetta compliment the scallops to perfection.
The third entrée we try are the buffalo wings ($14) served with thinly-sliced celery, black sesame seeds and blue cheese dressing on the side to help cut through the spiciness of the sauce. With sticky fingers, we devour them in a matter of seconds.
Sensing that my mouth was on fire, the bartender brought me two of their summery cocktails to cool me down. Whilst the vodka-based Passionberry ($16) was delicious, the Apple Liquorice Gin Sour ($16) was far more unique – the gin was infused with liquorice tea, and then topped with bitters that had been whipped into a froth. It was unlike any cocktail I’ve ever tasted…and that’s saying something!
For mains we start with their “famous” herb rubbed lamb cutlets served on a rocket and endive salad ($29). It comes served with warm wild rice, cherry tomatoes, honey-roasted pumpkin, chilli-roasted seeds and cashew nuts all finished with splashes of minted yoghurt dressing. The lamb is tender, succulent and cooked to medium-rare perfection. According to Lines, this is one of their most popular dishes, and we can see why.
The hand-made gnocchi served with mixed mushrooms, goats cheese and truffle oil ($27) comes highly-recommended. Despite the cream sauce, the potato gnocchi is very light and the truffle oil adds a nice earthiness to the dish. It takes much willpower to restrain from licking the gnocchi bowl.
To finish we order the chocolate fondant ($14) served with vanilla gelato, chantilly cream, fresh strawberries and chocolate crumble. Each one is cooked to order, and it shows – the cake is spongy moist, and positively oozing with still-warm chocolate lava.
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Lodge Tapas menu and wine list changes seasonally, and has recently added a new selection of main courses. Matthew Lines is friendly and attentive, taking time to personally drop by each table and talk to each dining party. In our case, we gave him rave reviews and swore to return once our stomachs had returned to their original size.
For more of our recommendations for North Shore dining, try the Flower Child Cafe.
1/24 Burns Bay Rd, Lane Cove
Open every day 7:30am–10pm
Find Lodge Tapas on Facebook and Instagram.