Location: Victoria Park
I’m not sure how I discovered this place had paella on it’s menu but I thought I must give it a try. I caught up with a mate for dinner after work and got there before 6pm on a hot late afternoon. The cafe is situated towards the end of a string of eateries that line Albany Highway. It was pretty hot but it was comforting stepping inside the air-conditioned surroundings. There were a few people there, but as the time passed, more and more people ventured in. It’s a very quiet and relaxed atmosphere to catch up with friends and shoot the breeze. Looking through the menu, there is a reasonable selection centering mainly on Italian. I of course went straight for the paella which is what I came here for. My friend went with one of the specials of the day – a steak.
After a reasonable wait, out came our meals. Mine was a large mound of rice piled up high! Talk about a generous serve of food! There was plenty of chicken, a couple of prawns, a couple of scallops perfectly done, a couple of squid, the odd red pepper (capsicum), an assortment of mushrooms, and a few thick shavings of a mild salami. The paella was different to what I was expecting given the amazing meal I had in Melbourne. However, unlike Generous Squires, Deevine Cafe at least served a paella. It was pretty good but lacked that hit of flavour. The meal was heavily weighted towards plenty of chicken but it was the absence of the strong fish stock which gives the rice and the dish most of it’s flavour. It also didn’t seem to have a bit of bite via smoked paprika. The rice was also a little dry and needed a bit more stock. Obviously, this wasn’t a traditional paella which is centered on seafood and noticeably, mussels. Chorizo was also absent. I was pretty stuffed after the meal and it’s not until cleaning the plate of food did I realise how large the plate was that they served me! My friend liked his steak but he has had better.
Verdict: While I can’t fault the generosity of the serving of paella with plenty of chicken and a lesser assortment of seafood, the dish was let down by the lack of intensity of flavour that is typical of a paella. If they up the flavour stakes, the dish will be delicious, albeit, a bit different from a typical paella which is dominated by seafood.
Price: Moderately Expensive
Recommendation: Worth Visiting Again
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