Caught up in the rat race? Too many lunches al desko? Tsk tsk! Why not leave your uninspiring soup/salad/sandwich and get out and about this lunch hour?

Nestled in the heart of the newly refurbbed China Square is The Mad Poet, a delightful urban gastrobar which has echoes of New York and London with its industrial concrete walls, warm leather upholstery and sleek bronze accents, offering a great $10 lunchtime menu to lure in renegade city workers.

The menu of pastas, salads and chicken/fish doesn’t offer any surprises, but was well-cooked, nicely presented and offers excellent value for money. The stand out dishes for us, however, were the seafood dishes.  Pan Seared Salmon was perfectly tender with a dry crisp skin and pleasingly al dente vegetables (how often do our folourn friends get overlooked as mere garnish and boiled to within an inch of their lives?).

The Juicy Prawns Pasta offered a creamy garlic butter sauce applied with tasteful reserve which neatly side-stepped the all too common (and very un-Italian) temptation to drown the pasta and allowed the flavours to speak for themselves without overpowering either the prawns or the palate.

Finally the Seared Yellowfin Tuna Salad. Glorious.  The tuna had literally glanced at the pan, resulting in delicate sashimi with just a light sear which was perfectly complimented by the wasabi dressing – many have attempted this dish; none, in my humble opinion, have executed it so well.

Work is indeed the curse of the drinking classes, which is why our lunchtime visit to this gastrobar did not begin to touch on the 20 whiskeys, range of craft beers and ciders or exciting cocktail list on offer, though we did manage to sneak in a cheeky Bloody Mary – a deceptively difficult cocktail to make well and executed to perfection by the Mad Poet crew with a lemongrass stick in place of the usual celery for a pleasing Asian twist. We shall have to come back to sample the rest of their drinks menu.

Written by Lady Libertine

On this occasion the meal was compliments of The Mad Poet