Bodega, Surry Hills
Bodega has been a feature of the Surry Hills dining scene for many years but only recently did I finally pay this Latin inspired tapas joint a visit. Located on an alleyway near Central Station, the venue was packed on a Tuesday evening.
The Hot cross bun with corned beef, smoked oyster mayo and kimchi stood out on the menu. It was a lovely mix of sweet, salty and spicy and makes me wonder why we don't have hot cross buns more often in restaurant menus! it makes for a refreshing change from all the brioche burgers that are popping up all over the place!
Bodega's Fish Fingers are definitely not the deep fried varieties you may find in the frozen food section of a supermarket. Instead, it is beautiful slices of Kingfish on charred toast with cuttlefish ceviche and grated mojima. It had beautiful flavours and was wonderfully balanced.
Steak tartare is one of my favourite things to eat and the Bodega version had a wonderful texture. The plantain chips were super crispy and great accompaniment to the tasty tartare.
Our final dish of Corn tamale with miso eggplant and avocado is an interesting fusion of South American and Japanese influences. The corn tamale smelled delicious and was surprisingly filling. The miso eggplant is a perfect mix of salty and sweet and I loved the gooey texture.
All in all, Bodega delivered in terms of flavour and service. It's another must visit in the Surry Hills dining landscape.
La Puerta, Neutral Bay
Hidden away from the bustling Military Road in Neutral Bay is La Puerta, a great place to dine if you are a fan of Latin American cuisine. The restaurant design features red, black and dark wooden hues with a dramatic mural depicting two dancers in the midst of a tango.
The food is made for sharing and we started with the Tiradito. Thin slices of kingfish have been marinated with Aji Amarillo (a chilli paste), dressed with lime juice and red sorrel leaves. It's similar to ceviche, wonderfully fresh, tangy with a bit of heat.
I love my grilled corn and La Puerta’s Mazarcada Corn is just as delicious as the ones I’ve tried at Mamasita or Ms G’s. The corn was topped with a generous amount of grated haloumi cheese and a delicious spice mix.
For the bigger dishes, we opted for the Grilled giant octopus with chorizo and crispy potato. The grilled octopus almost tasted meaty, and the capsicum chutney together with the aioli made for a great flavour combination. It was definitely a moreish dish.
Can’t say I’ve tried Pork belly with avocado puree so I was a little apprehensive, but it turned out to be a great combination. The pork was incredibly tender with crispy crackling, and finished off with a chorizo crumb. The smoked potato and avocado puree provided a good balance to the bold flavours of the dish.
Onto dessert and the Popcorn and soursop ice cream sandwich definitely caught my eye. I love the taste of soursop, but have usually only found it in some Vietnamese restaurant as an ingredient to a smoothie. First time having soursop ice cream and it was very refreshing and perfectly offset the sweetness of the dulce de leche-laced popcorn brittle. It was definitely a fun dessert to eat.
La Puerta has a lovely ambience and it's definitely worth a visit to experience some South American cuisine, tapas style. There’s an extensive cocktails and wine list too, featuring mainly Chilean and Argentinian varieties.
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