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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

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.

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

Lotforty

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.