Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cantina Bar & Grill

245 Oxford Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Ph: 02 9357 3033

Our good friend Clayton held his birthday dinner here on a warm balmy night in October. With about 10 guests (small & intimate) we had the $50 per person set menu, which was so much food (even for me the vegetarian) so i can't imagine how stuffed everyone else was feeling.

I have never been to a Spanish restaurant that isn't loud and packed with diners, and a few rowdy tables making the place almost impossible to hear anyone from the otherside of the table talking. This adds to the ambience of the restaurant, and its hard not to have a good time :)

Food came out fairly quickly, lots of tapas dishes, starting with salads and dips, then vegetables, then meat, meat & more meat (so much meat!)

baby spinach salad
w/ roast pumpkin, goats cheese, pine nuts
& grilled peppers

I particularly liked the goats cheese as it was extremely creamy with a strong tang on the tongue. The baby spinach leaves were fresh and un-bruised, a lovely fresh salad with a generous sprinkling of pine nuts on top.

chickpea salad
w/ cucumber, grilled peppers, spanish onion,
mint & manchego cheese

The chickpea salad was VERY healthy, and packed a punch with the added onions and mint. I wasnt sure of what what sprinkled on top, but came home & checked the menu- these cheese was light and not too strong on the palate.

Manchego cheese is the most important and well known sheeps milk cheese in Spain. It is aged for 3 months or longer, semi-firm texture, and ranges from being mild to sharp depending on the time it is aged for.

dip plate
w/ white bean, chickpea, beetroot, pumpkin,
eggplant & grilled olive sourdough

With four types of dip in the bowl, i couldn't help but have sometimes 2 or even 3 dip flavours on my piece of bread. My favourite would have to be the beetroot.

panfried haloumi
w/ chargrilled marinated red pepper & lemon

This one piece was definitely not enough for me or anyone else, we all only got one to two pieces each (depending on how quick we were to grab!). The chewy texture and saltiness, and having been panfried, this little yellow piece of cheese is so enticing!

pan fried field mushrooms
w/ garlic, parsley & jerez

The mushrooms were firm and flavour was soaked right to the middle. The pieces were large and at this stage i was starting to feel full already.

dusted calamari
w/ chilli & lime mayo

chilli tiger prawns
cooked in chilli, tomato, garlic & parsley

patatas bravas
potato cubes w/ onion
chilli & tomato sauce

I've had better patatas bravas (@ El Bulli) and here, they just didn't make me feel the same way. Firstly there weas not enough sauce, and secondly, the potatoes were flavorless.

grilled spanish chorizo
w/romesco sauce

lamb & pork baked meatball
w/ garlic, paprika & tomato

paella w/
calamari, clams, prawns,
mussels, green peas & roasted peppers

The paella came out last (not the first time i've seen it come out last) and by this point everyone was really full, and only really picking the mussels out and trying the rice.

With paying $50 per person, i'd say everyone but me got their money's worth, as half of it was all meaty things. El Bulli still stands as my favourite spanish restaurant, but for Richard to have tried all the meat dishes i think he liked this restaurant very much.


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Joy said...

Man that is an extensive amount of food!!! I am actually trying to eat less meat this year haha it will be hard but I think at the end it'll be for the best :) I love spanish food -- especially paella -- love the flavors of the seafood immersed in the grains of bright yellow saffron infused rice. GAH! happy new year!

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grace said...

hey $50s worth of meat is pretty gun! haha reminds me of when we go to buffets and everyone springs for the prawns. and bread is totally frowned down upon because it's cheap hahaha

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Ahh good to know! I have yet to try El Bulli but really want to. I find that patatas bravas either leaves me cold or I adore it. Happy New Year to you and Richard! :D

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joey@FoodiePop said...

Lamb and pork meatball looks yummo!

diva said...

love all the pics. everything's so yummy! great lighting too. x

Jenny said...

Hi Betty! My boyfriend took me here for our 6 months, hehe. I found the paella very yummy :) Love the photos, keep up the awesome work! x