Tapavno is one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney so I was delighted to hear the same team had opened Born by Tapavino in Barrangaroo, with a nod to the flavours of Barcelona. One of the things I loved most about my travels in Spain was the seemingly endless supply of Serrano ham. At Born by Tapavino, they have a wide selection of jamon with different accompaniments to choose from. We opted for the Jamon with the spiced plum and goat's curd. The strong flavours of the spiced plum were balanced out by the goat's curd and the slices of jamon were simply delicious.
I love churros for dessert but I think I prefer these Manchego churros. Filled with delicious cheese, the churros was topped with a crunchy, spicy, chorizo crumb - an explosion of flavour!
The Pan-fried King prawns were tasty and beautifully seasoned, but for $28, I was expecting a bigger portion.
We also ordered one of the specials of the night, Duck breast with caper and raisin puree, chargrilled waldorf and jamon crumb. The duck was perfectly cooked, still pink on the inside. The caper and raisin puree really livened up the taste buds and I loved the jamon crumb for the added punch of flavour and for the texture.
For dessert, we shared the Mil hojas 'thousand leaves', turron parfait and sour cherry compote. The 'thousand leaves' was a crunchy caramelised wafer thin disc and went beautifully with the nougat parfait. The sour cherry sauce really tied the whole dish together.
The tapas style menu is great for sharing, allowing you to try many dishes and great with a glass or two of Spanish wine (of which they have a very extensive menu of).
In the newly refurbished Gateway building in Circular Quay lies Popina, a collaboration between Salt Meats Cheese and Shuk. The meeting of Italian and Middle Eastern influences results in some exciting dishes.
We started off with the Stracciatella with figs, smoked almonds and apricot vinaigrette. Stracciatella is a soft, creamy cheese that's at the centre of burrata and is a perfect match for the slices of the sweet, ripe figs. The almonds added a crunchy texture and it was all tied together by the zingy apricot vinaigrette. This dish definitely put a smile on my face.
For a taste of South America, we had the Beef Empanadas which were served piping hot, straight from the oven. I enjoyed the crispy pastry and the juicy filling, but the sauce could have done with a little more oomph.
The next dish of Yellow fin tuna with Kibbeh nayyeh looked striking thanks to the wafer thin slices of watermelon. I wasn't sure about the flavour combination on paper but was convinced once I had a taste.
From the mains section, we opted for the Raviolidi ricotta with lamb backstrap and pistachio crumb. The ravioli with the creamy ricotta filling was delicious and the lamb was cooked perfectly to medium rare, but I did wish there was a bit more of it!
For dessert, I couldn't go past the Aljafor, a Dulce de leche mousse sandwiched between the buttery, crumbly shortbread and accompanied by a scoop of coconut ice cream. Both the mousse and ice cream were silky smooth and it was a great way to finish off the meal.
Popina brings together a great melting pot of flavours from around the globe and offers great service too. Definitely a great addition to the dining scene in Circular Quay!
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