105 Chapel Street
Windsor VIC 3181]]>
Tel : +61 3 9529 6900
License: Fully Licensed (no BYO)
A stylish Windsor retreat, Hoo Haa is a bar and restaurant that makes it easy for an after work drink to extend into dinner. Hoo Haa provides amply, offering a variety of small, snack-sized meals as well as a full restaurant menu, so whether you're stomach's demanding little morsels of chicken wing or a full blown rump steak with triple-cooked chips, Hoo Haa can deliver.
Upstairs at the Windsor end of Chapel Street.
PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Since it opened several years ago Hoo Haa has been a great little hideout at the less-shiny end of Chapel Street. An antidote to many of the cookie-cutter bars and cafés, this funky little diner has always had a welcoming vibe and reliable, well-priced menu.
The space is large and versatile, with a 360 degree bar dominating proceedings, secluded private booths, a dining room with a view of the bustling kitchen, and a large courtyard for al fresco dining. The food is being steered in a more sophisticated direction, with an emphasis on modern Italian dishes. With the chef putting his expertise to good use here, with a tantalising selection of small sharing plates, pizza, pasta and larger dishes that veer from simple, homespun flavours through to sexy, sophisticated fare.
Smaller dishes are ideal to share between two – start with delicate and fresh cured kingfish with grapefruit, cress and green sauce, or a light and fluffy omelette of blue swimmer crab with creamy sauce and a hint of lime that lifts it to a refreshing and divine dish. Roast cauliflower salad is a comforting combination of flavours and textures highlighted by toasted almonds, pomegranate seeds and sheep’s milk yoghurt, while the porchetta with nectarines and vinocotto is a perfect blend of salty and sweet.
Main fare features chicken with a saffron and almond sauce with feathery cous cous – its flavours a perfect example of Barnes’ simple, home-style cooking. If you’re lucky, the risotto of the day might be rich squid ink served with chunks of tender calamari and freckled with fish roe, making it flavourful and visually arresting. Desserts such as pavlova with rosewater and summer fruits delight the palate, while chocolate lovers will revel in the chocolate marquis with salted caramel, pistachio and white peach sorbet. There’s a decent wine list as well as great cocktails, and the staff are casual but attentive without being overbearing.
The vibe at Hoo Haa is fun but the food here should be taken very seriously indeed.