Taking someone who has just arrived back from Peru to a South American restaurant is a double-edged sword. They’re full of helpful advice, but they’re also a little, well, full of it. Luckily La Puerta’s Colombian owner Catherine Espinosa was there to step in: “We’ve taken our favourite dishes from the whole of South America and adapted them to the Australian palate.”
There are only two situations in which it's forgivable to wear leggings as pants in public. The first is, if you're actually a child under the age of ten, and the second is, when you're planning on eating more food than regular pants can handle.
You’d be forgiven for thinking designer Mike Delany dropped a tab of acid before choosing this riotous colour scheme. It’s alarming, that is until a few Panamargaritas ($17) get your lips tingling with jalapeno, aloe drink, agave and tequila, and ease you into the swing of things.
"Why don't I just cook you something?" It’s the kind of line women like me dream about, especially conveyed by a chef with a knife tattoo running the length of their forearm.
While most of my time is spent in restaurants, everyone snacks sometimes. This week I’ve been getting into Duck Creek Farm Macadamias, grown and hand-packaged in the beautiful Byron hinterland.
Yes, it’s in a club. Now we have that out of the way, this deceptively exciting restaurant affords you chance to sit in a gorgeous glass box overlooking Coogee Beach.
Suits cut loose! The staff are dressed as mechanics, so take off your tie, roll up your sleeves and enjoy pop culture and a plate of beef ribs – Asado De Tira ($40) - without the hidden anxiety.
How do you get rich, Central American style cuisine on a plate without coming off as a carnival? Get the Corner House boys to serve it in Bondi. For instance, their Fried Chicken ($27) with creamed corn, corn bread and gumbo sauce is the Deep South epitomised, but it's so pretty. And Tacos ($7), sure they feature in every diner/pub/pop-up in Sydney, but these ones are special. They're deconstructed and come with big chunks of tender meat; the jerk chicken and pulled pork options are more like a barbeque than a pocket-sized snack.
Whilst it might be called fusion or Pacific Rim, the menu here is really owner/chef Danny Parreno’s (ex-La Bodeguita Del Medio) life story in plates. His grandfather moved to Peru as part of a wider wave of Japanese immigration. This goes toward explaining the yuzu and yaki onigiri draped tender octopus tentacles in his Nisei ($15), one of five cebiche headlining his menu. A sucker for citrus-marinated fishes, I tried three (and intend to return for the rest).
It may come as a surprise, but not all Brazilian has to be an endurance test in protein consumption. Petiscos or ‘tasty foods’ at this small bar accentuate an excellent list of cocktails including Sydney’s best Pisco Sour ($16).