The Black Toro has been highly anticipated by the locals in Glen Waverley as the lack of choice and standard of food has been found wanting and the blacked out windows with ‘The Black Toro coming soon’ signs were intriguing. I was unsure when they specifically opened as I was overseas but finally we were able to rustle up a group for dinner at Black Toro on a Sunday night. The decor inside was simple and dimly lit – someone commented that the interior wasn’t as fancy as he had assumed it would be. The restaurant was almost full that night but it wasn’t noisy which we liked.
Browsing the menu, I noticed it had a box at the bottom to explain all the elements that may be unknown to some diners which I thought was very handy. After discussing with the group and some back and forth between the waitress and chefs, we decided to go with the Set Menu without desserts ($45) so we could try more things and not worry about what dishes to order and also order our own desserts instead of a dessert tasting plate.
Glossary on the Menu
To start off, we were served Guacamole with tortilla chips. The Guacamole was nice with the tortilla chips although I’m more partial to the chunkier style of Guacamole and thought this could have done with a tad more seasoning or kick of flavour.
Guacamole with tortilla chips
The majority of our group enjoyed the smaller olives as the taste was more mild but the bigger ones weren’t too bad either.
I opted for a refreshing Lemon Lime Bitters while others had Gin &Tonics.
Lemon Lime Bitters
I was glad that the Grilled Corn was part of the set menu as I like to compare it from restaurant to restaurant. The corn was very juicy and sweet – the squeeze of lime added a splash of citrus to the spicy and creamy chipotle mayonnaise while the toasted masa (type of bread) added a bit of texture. The corn did not impart any smoky flavour so it seemed more like the corn had been steamed/boiled, then grilled to give it some colour. I could be wrong but that was my impression.
Grilled corn on the cob with chipotle mayonnaise and toasted masa
Next up were the Potato and Chorizo Croquettes. I was unable to distinguish a cheesy flavour from the manchego foam but the Croquettes themselves, were incredibly creamy, cheesy and very heavy with chunks of Chorizo inside. We thought that for the flavours, the size was overwhelming and even all the big eaters were struggling to finish and refused offers to finish other peoples’ serves.
Potato and Chorizo croquettes with manchengo foam
I was mostly looking forward to the Scallop Ceviche because first off – Raw Scallop, can’t go wrong, and secondly Ceviche, even better! It came beautifully presented with vibrant colours of the radish however the bitterness of the radish overwhelmed the natural sweetness of the Scallops as the radishes were diced quite thickly. While the lime gave the dish a little flavour, the dish was bland overall. We ended up picking out the Scallops to eat alone.
Scallop Ceviche, Radish and Citrus Oil
A very blurry picture, courtesy of Mr A, of the Beetroot salad which was a substitute for the Scallop Ceviche for the one person who was allergic to seafood. I enjoyed this much more than the Scallop Ceviche as the combination of pickled baby Beetroot with Goats cheese was hard to deny while the quinoa gave it a great crunchy texture.
Pickled Baby Beetroot, Goats Cheese, Quinoa and Caperberries
The Pulled Pork Tacos came out on toasted flour tortillas and while I was patiently picking out the strings of onions (I hate onion breath!), the others were thoroughly enjoying the tacos but also warning me of dripping juices. The Pulled Pork was tender and soaked in juices that went so well with the coleslaw and spritz of lime. This was unanimously the favourite dish of the meal along with the corn.
Pulled Pork Tacos, Shredded Cabbage & Sour Cream
The Twice Cooked Chicken Wings looked appetizing however after a few minutes of eating these Chicken Wings, questions were being thrown around if anyone could taste what the sauce was!? Cutting off pieces of chicken to slather with sauce, I was unable to discern any flavours and it just tasted like Fried Chicken. Even after finding out that it was a Mexican style Peanut sauce, our tastebuds still didn’t register any Peanut flavours.
Twice Cooked Chicken Wings with a Peanut Mole
We were finally onto the mains and the slow cooked Lamb Shoulder was the first to appear. Laden with spices, it was especially easy to dissect and fell of the bone. The meat was succulent, tender and perfectly cooked however we thought it was over seasoned and quite salty – I was still able to eat it, but only small portions and I was seriously craving a fresh salad to offset the saltiness.
Lamb Barbacoa with accompaniments
The Baby Chicken was the better choice of the mains as it was delicious and tender. We were provided with a few sauces to accompany the mains and the chilli sauce was the favourite for the Chicken.
Guajilo Basted Baby Chicken, Bitter leaf salad & Orange
The sides of Triple cooked potatoes were a favourite – incredibly crispy and fluffy inside. I was getting quite full and with all the rich and heavy food, I wasn’t able to eat much of the Potatoes although the others enjoyed them.
Triple cooked potatoes, paprika salt, garlic aioli
The Sweet Potatoes were simply steamed and much healthier so I much preferred this lighter option to the Potatoes.
Finally onto dessert, we ordered two each of the most popular desserts. The Peanut butter cheesecake came deconstructed although I lamented the lack of crumbly biscuit crust which I guess the crumbs of chocolate cake were there for. The quenelle of Peanut butter cheesecake was like a punch of Peanut butter in the face. It was extremely creamy and tasted like we were eating Peanut butter straight from the jar but in a thick, cream form. Eating it with the sweet and crumbly honeycomb, the dessert was very tasty however it was extremely heavy and we would have favoured a vanilla sorbet instead of the rich chocolate sorbet as we all struggled with the overall richness.
Peanut butter cheesecake, honeycomb, chocolate sorbet
The Chocolate Brownie was warm and still gooey instead. It was delicious with the vanilla ice cream while the salted caramel popcorn added a salted texture to the dish. You aren’t able to see but there were two slices of Brownie behind the Vanilla ice cream so in the end, there wasn’t enough ice cream to complement the rich Chocolate Brownie. I even accused Mr A of eating all the ice cream but it was really because there wasn’t enough ice cream in the first place! Haha ooops – turns out that he had been eating the Chocolate Brownie sans ice cream to save it for me and he had witnesses!! This was our favourite dessert but it definitely needed more ice cream to offset the chocolate.
Chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream, salted caramel popcorn
At times, the service was absent and our plates were left empty on the table so we had to wave down someone to clear them a few times. As locals, we desperately wanted to enjoy The Black Toro however there were only a few dishes (Corn, Tacos and Chocolate Brownie) that we really enjoyed while the rest of the dishes were okay. Although the restaurant is decent for Glen Waverley standards and the portions we received for the Set Menu were quite generous, I would rather travel to the city or Northern suburbs for a better meal.