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Restaurant Review: Resto Bar

October 28th, 2012

I’m so pleased that Sydney’s newest Argentine restaurant Resto Bar has changed the way I eat Spanish food in Sydney. Being Spanish myself, and having lived in Spain, I find it very hard to find good, authentic Spanish food in this city – till now.

With the new addition of effervescent Spanish-Australian chef Gloria Lombardo, the food could not be more authentic, mainly because of the fact that Gloria is from Cataluña, a provence of Spain.

It takes a real Spaniard to understand Spanish food and Gloria has been the force behind Sydney’s best tapas restaurants for more than 20 years. She has developed a menu that is a unique combination of classic Spanish tapas with modern Argentine dining.  Using only the freshest seasonal produce, the authentic dining experience that made Café Tapas in Bourke St, En Casa and Casa Asturiana so popular is now found at Resto Bar.

So enough about Gloria as sweet as she is, and lets move on to the food.

Wow… Was I impressed! The food and the service combined with the company I had for the night, I couldn’t have had a better experience. The very hospitable Sebastian from Sitges, a town outside of Barcelona welcomed and seated us, quickly attending to our needs.

After opening a bottle of wine and getting settled with my great and gorgeous friends Kate, Nikki, Nataša and Carmelena, we looked over the menu and ordered everything that Sebastian and Gloria recommended, as well as the typical Spanish dishes.

For me, the stand out dish was definately the wild mushrooms and prawns. Succulent and fresh, this dish is my recommendation. But it was the typically Spanish dishes that caught my attention, the paella, the tortilla (Spanish omelette), gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns) and patatas bravas (fried potato cubes). Eating these dishes all of my life has made me a critic, and I can tell you I’ve had some pretty shocking ones, but my goodness – these were all absolutely outstanding!

The grilled calamari and the chorizo – amazing! The milanesa a berenjenas (crumbed and fried eggplants) – amazing! This is something my mother and grand mother have always made, so great to see it on a menu and taste it.

Unable to eat much more, I did try the typically Argentine BBQ meat. I don’t normally eat large amounts of meat, but this was irresistible. It’s a mixed charcoal grill of meats; chicken, short ribs, chorizo, black pudding & wweet-bread plus Matambre de Cerdo (grilled pork flank steak) + salad & bread.

I really could go on about everything on the menu because we pretty much ordered everything on it! The food is filling and you feel absolutely content – these are great portions. The service was great and with the wide open kitchen, it’s great to see Gloria cooking away with her love for authentic food.

I can’t tell you how impressed I am with my experience here – as well as my great friends.

Resto Bar really impressed us, tucked away in a quieter part of town and having a really edgy urban style inside, I will be back here in a heartbeat.

Pros: Great, authentic food, authentic service, authentic attitudes with authentic views on how Spanish/Argentine for should be presented. BYO alcohol. Charming and relaxed space, easy parking.

Cons: No real cons to be honest. I was so thrilled with my experience that even if something wasn’t right, I wouldn’t have noticed it.

Pricing: Tapas meals from $5 to $26. A large range of paella, meat grills and other menu selections. Website is detailed with pricing and everything is translated to English.

Final say: A clean, friendly and hospitable group of people bringing a pleasurable experience to life with great food. I love this place and it’s great for groups. I’ll be back again and again – and the other reviews on UrbanSpoon completely back me up on this review – a seriously impressive place!

65 McLachlan Avenue, Rushcutters Bay - 02 93603121 – Open Tuesday to Saturday

Resto Bar on Urbanspoon

Sharing The Family Tradition Of Authentic Spanish Paella

November 5th, 2010

From the day I was born, I pretty much grew up eating Spanish food. My Grandmother always made typical Spanish food, as did my Mother and also my Aunt. All Spanish women, they took on my Grandmother’s fantastic cooking skills.

I remember as a child, my Grandmother force feeding me and my cousin her special soup with a huge ladle sized spoon. Making us nice and plump, constantly feeding you as most European families do. Those were the days.

Not much has changed, except for the fact we can feed ourselves. When we go to my Nona’s place, it’s all the best in Spanish cuisine, albondigas con tomate, patatas bravas, croquetas… the list goes on. But the one thing, that remains a specialty in the family is the World famous, Paella.

Again since children, we were all forced to eat it. As we got older, it became a love. It has now become a special dish that all the grown-up’s know how to make, passed on from my Grandmother. Using their skills gained of many years, they have now perfected the art of making the perfect Paella. It takes alot of time, skill and hard work to get it right.

So what is Paella? It’s a risotto-like seafood dish. Authentic recipes contain saffron, rice, chicken, peas, beans, prawns, calamari, mussels, capsicum, onions and more. But you can pretty much take out or add in anything you want. Add lobster and Moreton Bay bugs, take out the onion and peas if you wish. But the base ingredients mentioned really are required. Typically, a Paella is cooked in a paellera, a huge round metal pan. There are many sizes available, all of the families within my family have multiple sizes from 30cm up to 1m in diameter! The World’s largest is just over 20m in diameter!!

So I thought I would share with you a version of the ‘Marquez Family Paella’ which can be cooked on the BBQ or on the stove in a large pan.

PAELLA (serves 10 people)

Ingredients:

1 x large onion (chopped)

4 x cloves garlic (chopped)

A handful of flat parsley (chopped)

Juice of two lemons

Half a kilo of Calasparra rice or short grain rice (not Arborio)

1 x can diced tomatoes

Saffron

Fresh fish stock 1 litre

1 kg medium green prawns (peeled and deveined)

Half a kilo of small black mussels

2 x calamari tubes (cut into rings)

3 or 4 scampi cut in half  (alternatively, Balmain bugs or lobster)

1 x red capsicum cut into long strips

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Method:

If possible, use round paella dish (paellera) with even heat all around, otherwise use a round deep frying pan, or electric frying pan.

1. Add olive oil to pan, add onions, garlic, parsley and tomatoes and make a sofrito, cook for about five minutes.

2. On another frying pan, cook capsicum strips in olive oil until soft (place aside).

3. Steam mussels and bugs for about 4 minutes or until they open (discard any unopened).

4. Add to sofrito calamari and prawns, cook for 3 minutes, add rice and stir, add fish stock and saffron, salt and pepper to taste and lemon juice.

5. Cook rice until soft (usually 20 minutes) do not stir whilst cooking, just shake Paella dish or frying pan from handles, when rice is cooked arrange, mussels and bugs as pictured.

6. Add capsicum strips on top, cover entire Paella with a tea towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Serve with a fresh green salad and lemon wedges.

Photos by Adrian Erdedi

Make Sure She Doesn’t Leave Home Without This…

April 19th, 2010

Monica Trápaga knew exactly what to do when her daughter Lil announced she was leaving home:  present her with a collection of tried-and-tested family recipes and stories.

“When your first child moves out of home it’s a great loss, oh gosh, it’s a big void in your life you know,” says Monica.

Monica’s Spanish heritage, crazy family history and vast well of creativity, gives us a recipe book with love and humour, along with ninety great recipes, from the classics (roast beef, bolognese and brownies) to the exotic (paella, san choi bao and gazpacho).

Beautifully illustrated with drawings from artist Meredith Gaston and Monica’s own collages, this precious manual of culinary inspiration and sound practical advice is a must-have for any girl about to leave home on her own life journey.

A great gift, a great book for any mother to put in her daughters glory box, something that can be passed down, it’s a book to be cherished.

Avaiable at all great bookshops for RRP $49.95 – definately a small price to pay for a lifetime of reference.

www.monica.com.au

See the interview with Monica here.