Can you believe that there’s another new(ish) addition to the already jam packed Kingsway dining scene in Glen Waverley Called The Black Toro? At least this time, it’s a type of cuisine that’s completely different to what we’re used to – Mexican/Spanish tapas.
My friends tell me that whenever they visit, which is roughly once every few months, Glen Waverley looks different. There are new apartments building right next to the station, meaning the old restaurants and shops there have gone. There’s a huge multiplex carpark building nearby and the park signs next to the station have changed yet again. Regardless of the time of day or day of the week, you will surely get stuck in traffic, behind many cars trying to park on the street. I just don’t understand why people aren’t wiling to walk an extra few steps and park in the car park behind Kingsway…laziness people!
The Black Toro opened up a few weeks ago towards the end of the busy street and with a completely black frontage, it was easy to miss for me. The mood lighting inside meant c.r.a.p.p.y. photos but provides diners with a nice atmosphere to enjoy a glass of cocktail and a few tapas dishes to share.
After speaking with one of the co-owners, I found out that they had an eye for the location for a long time and the concept for the restaurant came after. They were definitely trying to aim for a type of cuisine that Glen Waverley hasn’t seen before which has been warmly welcomed by the locals. In my opinion, GW has turned very Asian/Malaysian in recent years, not that it’s a bad thing since I love Malaysian food. Variety though, is always a plus.
I found the bar supply was not very big so we didn’t order a cocktail that night, but the types of dishes available looked similar (although not as big variety) as Mamasita in the CBD.
A few dishes jumped out at us and the one that I looked forward to the most was the slow cooked pork belly with chickpeas, chorizo and tomato for $27. It has pork belly in it, of course it would be my pick right? It turned out to be a very nice dish. The pork was very tender but with a slightly crispy skin (I was wishing for a bit more crispy but slow cooked usually means not…), it was nicely seasoned although a tad more salt made it taste even better. This dish was quite big for a tapas and is part of the Grande Plates section (mains).
My second pick was the wagyu beef sliders with onion, tomatillo relish and jack cheese ($7 each). I only ordered one to try which turned out to be a good idea because although it was quite a nice little burger, I didn’t feel $7 was justified. The meat was tender and well seasoned, but it didn’t really live up to the ‘wagyu’ name.
I also ordered 1 mushroom sope with corn truffle & ricotta salad ($5). I didn’t know what corn truffle was until I looked it up later but at the time I was expecting the mushrooms to taste like truffles and it didn’t. As you can imagine, disappointment followed. However, it was still a nice big mushroom which I enjoyed. It just probably wasn’t worth $5 each…
The next dish we ordered was the crispy cuttlefish with spicy aioli ($16). It was a surprisingly big dish for tapas. There was a mountain of well fried cuttlefish that were very tender and juicy. We did find this dish to be quite similar to regular fried calamari dishes so it didn’t really wow us. The aioli as well was quite salty and we didn’t end up dipping the cuttlefish much.
The last dish ended our night on a high note and it was the Mezcal cured salmon, avocado puree and smashed coriander meringue ($16). This was probably our favourite dish of the night (yes it may have even ranked higher than the pork belly!). Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage from Mexico but apart from an interesting flavour, the salmon didn’t really taste much like it was alcohol cured. However, we loved how it was plated and the overall flavour and texture combination.
I couldn’t taste much of the coriander, but loved the salmon roe which gave it that extra salty kick and popping sensation that I like. The crispy bits of nori (Japanese seaweed) added a nice touch to the dish as well.
Yuye and I visited when the restaurant was freshly opened (maybe about 1 week) so obviously some elements of the dishes might not be as well executed yet, but I think The Black Toro has a lot of potential. One suggestion for them in my opinion is to stock up on a few more imported tequilas like Mamasita, since I found that was a selling point for Mamasita that we liked. If you’re in the neighbourhood and don’t feel like Asian for dinner, give The Black Toro a go.
The Black Toro
Phone: (03) 9561 9696
79 Kingsway, Glen Waverley VIC 3150