I was really looking forward to our holiday in Albany! Jac made reservations at two Albany restaurants before we even left home. The first was for Lime 303, the restaurant at the Dog Rock Motel, where we stayed. Jac booked a table for our first night in Albany – we figured it would be nice not to have to venture far for dinner after all the travelling earlier that day. I was really looking forward to this meal, having read that Lime 303 has won numerous awards* and having drooled over their menu online.
We were promptly served fresh crusty bread with soft butter that was a joy to spread – I know this may seem like a trivial, basic detail to get excited about, but one of my pet hates is restaurants that serve cold hard butter that’s come straight out of the fridge, making it a battle not to dig holes in the bread. So on that score, a big fat buttery tick for Lime 303.
For her first course Jac ordered the Vietnamese salad of shredded pork and prawns (AU$22), with baby corn, cashews, paw paw and bean sprouts, in a caramelised palm sugar-tamarind sauce (AU$22). Jac offered me a taste (of course!) and I couldn’t help it – I kept going back for more. I was delighted to discover tiny nuggets of crunchy pork crackling throughout the salad – not too much though, just enough to excite and send me hunting around for more. I like salads to be like this – colourful and interesting, full of different textures and tastes. The baby corn, cashews, cucumber, pork crackling – all different kinds of crunchy. The tender shredded pork, bouncy prawns (it was more pork than prawn salad though) and soft sweet smears of paw paw were all delicious – it was a true sensory pleasure to eat. The pork crackling added a level of naughty indulgence to the dish. There’s a scale, I reckon: bacon is naughty, pork crackling naughtier.
I don’t usually order pasta for a first course as it can be too filling, but I couldn’t resist the temptation of Limes’ carbonara (AU$18), with bacon, mushrooms, garlic and spring onion in a creamy pasta with a twist of lime and chilli. Interestingly, upon tasting the dish the first time we both thought it tasted gingery. This wasn’t a problem for me as I love ginger, but I could barely taste the lime. Ginger/lime issue aside, it was tasty! The silky pasta was coated in sauce loaded with bacon and mushrooms and topped with a sprinkling of cubes of sweet fresh tomato. If I wasn’t in a restaurant I’d have licked the plate clean (I wiped the plate clean with my bread instead).
Jac didn’t feel like a big meal, so for her main course, she ordered another starter dish – the Sea 3, Lime 303’s seafood tasting plate. That night’s Sea 3 featured (pictured below, left to right): seared scallops with topped crispy shallots, served with yabbie bisque; seared tuna with peach and coriander salad; smoked trout pate with crispy croutons (AU$24).
The Sea 3 was hit-and-miss. The hits: the seared tuna (Jac’s favourite item on the platter), smoked trout pate and rich yabbie bisque. The presentation was gorgeous. The misses: unripe, hard peaches; unpleasantly rubbery scallops; palate-numbing crispy shallots that overwhelmed the other delicate flavours on the plate. I always feel frustrated, almost outraged, when confronted by badly cooked/ruined scallops. It hurts like being served burnt bacon. Such a waste!
For my main course, I chose the fish of the day, which was saddletail cod served on buttered kipfler potatoes, with courgette remoulade, watercress and a sundried tomato-lime sambal (AU$35). I must admit when I read that description I thought it sounded like too many things on a single plate, but I decided to take the plunge and try it anyway (the elements all appealed to me individually) – I was surprised, it was great!
The two large pieces of fish were moist and meaty, the buttery potatoes perfectly cooked, everything nicely seasoned. I think watercress is a very underutilised and underrated vegetable, so I enjoyed every leaf and stem on the plate. The sambal was wonderfully robust in flavour, sweet yet savoury – I’d buy a jar of it for my fridge. But as with the pasta dish, I craved more lime. The creamy courgette remoulade was the intruder on the plate, adding a richness it really didn’t need. I left most of the courgette on my plate.
We shared dessert and chose the espresso coffee pot with chocolate-hazelnut biscotti, pear sorbet and frangelico sauce (AU$16). The coffee mousse was delightfully light and smooth but served in the wrong (too deep) dish. The sorbet was sublimely refreshing and tasted distinctly of pear. We eagerly drank spoonful after spoonful of the Frangelico sauce – perhaps a shooter glass would’ve worked just as well! Espresso, hazelnut (in liquid and biscuit forms), chocolate and pear – it was a lovely combination of flavours. I did roll the sorbet off the biscotti as soon as I’d taken the photo – no sense in prematurely soggifying a perfectly crisp biscuit by plonking sorbet on top of it. The dessert was Jac’s favourite dish of the evening.
There was a pretty good crowd for a Tuesday night. There’s a nice bar area and the restaurant decor is modern. Our waiter was attentive, maybe bordering on too chatty – but her eagerness to please was a refreshing change to the lacklustre service we often get back in Perth. Our plates were cleared promptly after each course and drinks service was excellent. Our meal featured delicious and interesting, sometimes adventurous flavour and texture combinations.
Lime 303 is worth a visit if you’re ever in Albany. We’ll be happy to dine at Lime 303 again, though I have one thing to say to the Chef: Don’t be shy with the lime, I want to taste it next time! :D
Buffet breakfast Monday to Friday 6.30am – 9.30am; Saturday and Sunday 7.30 – 10am
Bar open daily 5pm to late
Dinner daily 6pm to late
15% surcharge on public holidays
Room service breakfast and dinner available
It’s called Dog Rock Motel because Dog Rock is right across the road. Can you see the dog?
Congratulations to the winners of my two recent competitions:
AZ, winner of the Dreamfarm clongs and supoon
Nicki, winner of a Peters Overload ice cream kit
Thank you to everyone who entered and thanks to the generous competition sponsors! I’m hoping to feature more giveaways this year, so stay tuned!
*Note – regarding award-winning restaurants
I’m always curious to try so-called award-winning restaurants for myself, to see what all the fuss is about.
More Albany posts
This post is part of my series about our trip to Albany in January 2011.
See the full list of Albany posts.