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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

Spanish Cuisine At It’s Best – Croquetas de Jamón

August 5th, 2011


The Spanish diet is quite healthy, despite the many fried foods they have.
It’s said that the Mediterranean diet is the best in the world. They live long, happy and healthy lives. They have great skin and obesity is amongst the lowest in the world.

One of the really delicious and typically Spanish dishes I’ve been spoiling myself with is Croquetas con Jamón.

I have no idea how to make them, but I have found a great recipe for them.



Spanish Cuisine At It’s Best – Jamón Serrano

August 3rd, 2011


The Spanish most certainly know how to live. They are happy people, who are easily pleased by the rich things in life – most of all… Food.

So it’s obviously that with me being half Spanish, I’d have such a love for food!
I’m currently in Madrid and have been eating some really typical foods that are available in the hundreds for little bars that line the streets, lane ways and plazas.

Ok, so looking at the photos I’ve taken, the food really doesn’t like like something out of a magazine. But this is what true Spanish food is all about… The taste. So look past the almost grotesque presentation, and think about the fresh, authentic taste, made with love!

Over the next few days I’ll be uploading delicious typically Spanish dishes for you to see and salivate over! Yum!

Above I’ve pictured one of my favorite, yet most simple. I’d normally have this for breakfast, or at lunch – jamon Serrano with tomato on bread.

It’s so easy! Fresh crusty bread roll, cut a tomato in half and rub it into the bread, squishing all the juice and pulpy bits into the bread, drizzle a little olive oil over that, then cut some fresh Jamón Serrano. That’s it!

Jamón Serrano is cured ham, which is very popular in Spain – not so much in Australia. But you can buy it and it’s absolutely incredible! If you can’t find it, procoitto is just as good.


LotForty Launches The Sangria Club!

January 31st, 2011

On the 25th January, Sydney’s socialites including Shelly Horton, gorgeous Bianca Venuti, James Duffell, Chloe Duffell (Sabatini), Daniel Sofo (Firefly), amazing Elle Halliwell (The Insider) and many more, gathered in Darlinghurst to celebrate the launch of Lotforty Tapas Restaurant’s “Sangria Club”, sponsored by Square One Organic Vodka & Jed Wines.

“Sangria Club” allows locals to enjoy jugs of sangria for $10 or two tapas plates and a jug of sangria for $30 every Wednesday & Thursday from 5pm-11pm. Ladies and gentlemen, adorned with Spanish fans, mingled over icy jugs of red wine sangria and drooled over the refreshing white wine sangria while the live Spanish guitarist’s smooth tunes surrounded the courtyard, creating a truly festive Spanish vibe .

Two lucky girls gave the piñatas (a chilli and guitar piñata) a good beating, only to be showered with prizes such as a voucher for Lotforty’s “Sangria Club” and fabulous Valentine’s Day bracelets from Santos Wish. The night was a success, and a great way to kick off the Australia Day Eve celebrations.

Salvagno Extra Virgin Olive Oil

January 10th, 2011

Being a typical Spaniard, when I cook, I love to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The more, the better. It’s almost disgusting how much I use! But I love it.

I’m fussy with the Extra Virgin Olive Oils I use too, so lately I have really only been using one brand, Salvagno – an Italian family company from the Venetian Hill, Lake Garda.

It’s a delicate and sweet, perfectly blended with four mono-varietal oils. It’s versatile and you an use it with anything you would normal use olive oils. Because of it’s delicate flavour, I like to use it on foods that the taste can be distinguished, like salads and garlic prawns.

You can get this great olive oil by Salvagno at Simon Johnson in a few locations around Sydney for $40.95.


Head Into LotForty And Enjoy Great Tapas At The LotForty Sangria Club

December 16th, 2010

For a while now I’d been meaning to go to LotForty on Kings Lane, Darlinghurst.

Well finally I went, and enjoyed every moment of this modern Spanish tapas restaurant, with Australian and Asian influences.

Tucked away in it own little nook, it’s one of the only authentic Melbourne style hidden gems of it’s type in Sydney – and it’s what we really needed. The location and the site is a real pleaser. The rustic yet alternative interior set over 2 floors, the industrial forecourt yet with the inclusion of a settlers sandstone staircase from an era long gone. But this is only a small part of the journey.

Owned by Damien Healey who has a long standing history in bars and pubs in Sydney, Lotforty is the culmination of finding the right venue at the right time and launching a well thought out restaurant concept, resulting in a fresh and relaxed approach to dining.

It’s the food that people really come here for time and time again – now myself included, I’ve been here a couple of times!

The menus came over and I looked over the delicious list of tapas dishes. What to choose? They all sound great!

Chef, Kelly has created a menu that was inspired by her experiences in traditional Italian kitchens and her international travels.

So my lovely friend and I chose a range of dishes, because they all sounded so great! Crumbed mixed mushrooms with warm cream of mascarpone topped with Gorgonzola crumble & roasted walnuts, Vegetable & haloumi skewers drizzled with marjoram vinaigrette, Oven baked chilli jam duck crepe with broccolini and tamarind plum sauce (pictured beside), topped with crispy eschalots, Fried pumpkin ricotta balls finished with cream of spinach and one of my favourites – the shallow fried baby squid tossed with lemon sea salt and chilli flakes. Absolutely to die for!

I must make special mention… The mixed fried mushroom dish and duck crepes are a MUST! I’m constantly craving them!

Now tapas dishes are generally smallish, and not a great portion, but one thing I immediately realised when our dishes came out was the portion sizes. They are like large entrees which I was very impressed with.

All of this food can’t just be washed down with Mineral water. It’s all about the Sangria at LotForty. Delicious! Be sure to grab yourself a jug (or 2) made with fresh ingredients and a generous portion of Square One Organic Vodka. Their Sangria compliments our perfect weather Sydney has been having of late. There is also a full wine list, as well as a yummy cocktail list which one day, I will make my way through! The most popular cocktails include the ‘Swedish Passion’ – a blend of fresh passion fruit pulp, caramel, apple juice and Swedish made vanilla vodka and the ‘Chambord Margarita’– Tequila and Chambord with infused sugar syrup shaken over crushed ice.

Summer Special:

So do yourself a favour, head to Darlinghurst, get comfortable, kick back and relax with great food, great friends, Sangria and chilled out Spanish tunes – I have no doubt you will thank me.

Pros: Location location location, ambiance, relaxed, away from hustle and bustle, awesome food, great Sangria, friendly staff.

Cons: Not to much to say… I’m pretty pleased all round!

Pricing: From $7.50 to $16 for Tapas which I think is really well priced for what you get. Desserts are $12, Cocktails $15 and Sangria $20. Great prices indeed!

Final say: Great restaurant all round. Well priced, great food, hospitable staff, great location and feel. Very happy and definately coming back again, and again, and again!

40 Kings Lane, Darlinghurst – www.lotforty.com – (02) 9389 2728


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)


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


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


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

Noble Wine Of The Week – Golding Wines – 2010 ‘La Francesa’ Savagnin

September 20th, 2010

Reviewed by Stewart Noble from WineWithoutBS.com.au for AdrianErdedi.com

I laughed when I read an article the other day that suggested Savagnin should be called “The wine formerly known as Albariño”. For those of you not yet familiar with the story, in 2008, Australia become infamous in the wine world when it was discovered that all the vines we had planted throughout the country which we had thought to be the well known Spanish grape variety, Albariño, was indeed a French grape variety known as Savagnin.

From 2009 and onwards all wines from these vines had to be correctly labelled as Savagnin and with 2010 we see the second, correctly labelled, vintage of this wine starting to hit the market. Golding wines, based in the Adelaide Hills, is one of the Australian producers making Savagnin, and their 2010 release would make either the French or the Spanish proud. Even the name ‘La Francesa’ shows some humour from Golding Wines in this regard as it is a Spanish term meaning “The French Lady”.

Light in colour with the standard, pale straw-like tone, this wine has a lovely aroma of citrus fruit. The flavour includes a full range of tropical fruits with the citrus first picked up on the nose also evident on the palate. A more bizarre find for me when tasting this wine was when I exhaled through my nose onto the wine in the glass and found that the aroma that came back was completely different and included a definite note of cloves, which are actually referred to in the official tasting notes on this wine provided by the winery. I know that sounds like BS but give it a go yourself and feel free to leave your comments on whether or not you think I have totally lost the plot, or even worse… am talking BS!

A key point to note is that like many European style wines, Savagnin, is certainly a wine better accompanied with food than savoured on its own. Golding Wines suggest that the perfect paring would be  a traditional Paella with fresh seafood. I certainly won’t argue against that suggestion as it sounds pretty darn good to me and on that note I feel like heading off to the shops to get the necessary ingredients!

Golding Wines – 2010 ’La Francesa’ Savagnin
Price: $25 from www.goldingwines.com.au
Region: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Recommended? Yes, if you are a fan of light, crisp white wines and haven’t had a Savagnin as yet then the Golding wines 2010 “La Francesa” is a great wine to start with. For those who have already tried and enjoyed the variety this example will not disappoint.


A Unique And Distinct Cheese Made For Enjoying – Pecorino Romano

August 12th, 2010

Pecorino Romano is seriously one of my favourite cheeses. This hard Italian cheese is the only cheese I use for grating over pasta, chicken, salads etc. It’s made of sheep’s milk, fresh from sheep raised on the plains of Lazio and in Sardinia.

It’s got a strong distinctive smell, many people dislike the smell but it’s one of the few cheeses that has such an amazing, sharp and perfectly salted flavour. It’s flavour is complex and distinct, because of this it’s not everyone’s taste. But I recommend you try this as an alternative to boring Parmesan.

Try it at Jones The Grocer, see if you like it. I guarantee you will and it will create the perfect authentic taste to any dish you make.

I purchase my Pecorino Romano from Jones The Grocer, for $6.90/100g. You can get cheaper ones at normal supermarkets, but they aren’t as amazing and refined as this one.

Quick treat - Treat yourself with thick broken slices of Pecorino Romano, on french bread sticks with Jamon Serrano (cured ham) and tomato. Cut the bread stick open, cut a tomato in half and rub the bread (inside) with the tomato, squishing it into the bread, soaking it with the tomato and seeds. Throw away the left over tomato and rub bread with abit of Olive Oil, then layer with the Jamon and cheese. A typically Spanish tapas dish.

Jones The Grocer – 68 Moncur Street, Woollahra.

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.


See the interview with Monica here.