Australia is the first Marketplace that you’ll see on your left as you head towards Canada. Hawaii and Almond Orchard are behind me on the right and we’re also across from Refreshment Port.
The Grilled Lamb Chop is back after a year off and the other two food items also return. The Coopers Pale Ale and Hope Estate Semillon are also back with the other two wines making appearances for the first time.
Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Pepper, Onion and Snap Peas – $5.50
The shrimp get smaller every year and it was a little more fun when they arrived on a skewer, but Australia’s Bush Berry Shrimp are a relatively “safe” offering with some spiciness from the onions and peppers contrasting nicely against the sweet tropical pineapple. I actually prefer the pea pods to the shrimp because they have a nice earthy flavor and a nice, crisp bite to them. Overall, it might be worth picking up if you’re in line for something else, but I’m not sure I would go out of my way.
Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies (GF) — $7.75
It’s nice to see the Lamb Chop back on the menu after last year’s “T-Bone” debacle. My guess is that Disney received some negative feedback from guests receiving fatty Chops and tried to do something different to improve the situation, but it didn’t really work. Hopefully quality control is a little higher and the Marketplace is able to offer consistently meaty lamb. As it stands, the Mint Pesto is a nice replacement for that gunky jelly that you sometimes see with the natural flavors of the mint, garlic, lemon, and ground pepper combining with the natural juices of the Lamb. There’s actually a little bit of feta cheese in the pesto, which adds the tang that might be what brings people back to this dish time and time again. The crushed potato chips add a nice textural contrast to the tender meat and help soak up the delicious flavors of the Lamb and Pesto that get left behind. That’s the best case scenario, anyway. If what you’re served is particularly fatty, they would be happy to replace it.
This is the unattractive mess that was served last year. It tasted exactly the same as the Lamb Chop and actually ended up being more meat, but I think you can see why it would be unpopular. Last year, I recommended people close their eyes as they ate it, which probably makes trimming the fat more difficult.
Lamington: Yellow Cake Dipped in Chocolate and Shredded Coconut – $3.75
I’m not sure if it’s the fact that it’s served on a plate instead of the usual small carton or what, but this “felt” like a pretty sad portion of cake, though it wasn’t as dry as in past years and the natural coconut flavor complemented the chocolate frosting well. This ends up being two or three bites that will cost you more than a dollar each, but it is pretty tasty this time around.
Coopers Brewery Original Pale Ale -$4.25
Coopers Brewery Limited is Australia’s largest and only wholly-owned brewery, dating all the way back to 1862. They are also the world’s largest producer of home brewing equipment. Anyway, this 7.5% English strong ale is one of the better beers available at the Festival with a high ABV and a fruity, smooth, taste with a little bit of earthy bitterness at the finish with virtually no presence of alcohol. It should be rare on draft and is highly recommended.
Wine Flight – $6.25
With Hope Estate “Wollombi Brook” Semillon, Franklin Tate Estates Chardonnay, Yangarra Shiraz
This is a solid wine flight with three Australian wines that taste like wine.
Overall, Australia returns three popular food items along with a very good beer and an accessible wine flight. At almost $8, the Lamb Chop is an expensive proposition, but one that seems to pay off for most people considering how popular it is. There aren’t a lot of shrimp offered at the Festival this year, so it’s a good opportunity to get your Bush Berry on and the Lamington is small, but tasty. And none of it is “Poutine,” which is probably good.
The Almond Orchard follows with a review here.