Hammetts at the old La Rive site on Tigne Seafront is a far cry from its predecessor. Classy, beautifully decorated with touches of navy velvet and copper – a little dark for daytime – with an unusual menu that so far – have not found items to similar elsewhere in Malta.
Talking of menus, there are three. One is sharing plates split out into groups like Land, Sea, Sides, Veg etc., another is bar snacks and there is one ‘set’ menu which involves a larger main course. This is designed to be done and dusted in 30 minutes. Other restaurants – listen up. Whilst only 12% of our Lunch Habits Survey respondents said they went to restaurants for lunch while at work,
The sharing plate concept appealed as we wanted to try a few dishes. We were recommended to take 4 plates so we opted for the cauliflower beignets coated in Korean soy sauce, Banh Xeo, a potato gratin and the maple bacon from the bar menu. We thought it would be rude not to.
The food comes out as its ready, but you aren’t left with one odd plate at all. I can’t tell you what was my favourite, but I will for sure be having all – probably minus the gratin – again.
The beignets were quite something. Crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, the cauliflower taste not evident and the soy glaze a real lip-licker. If cauli tasted like this at school, I’m sure more kids would have tried it. I’m happy cauliflower is having a moment. Embrace it readers.
The maple bacon is simple I know, but the patience required to make it that crispy, I just don’t possess. The Maple syrup flavour is subtle but brought back memories of Canada this Summer. Ahh.
The Banh Xeo was fabulous. I prepare mine differently but this version will be copied. all the ingredients were in the batter with a good smattering of prawns, lots of fresh coriander and just enough spice to make it interesting.
The gratin was good too – I wanted to steal the little skillet it came in, but we ordered them as they reminded Clara of Christmas at home in France. Mopped up the sauce with some bread but not quite the same flavour profile as the rest of the choices, but that was our bad, not theirs.
The service was swift and friendly; we were one of a number of tables on a Friday lunchtime. Does look like a good place for an evening too.
Our overall impression:
It’s Sliema – need we say more about parking
Good choice but vegetarians aren’t priority
Good for quick and long lunch, cocktails and dinner.