216 Commonwealth Street Surry Hills, New South Wales 201002 9212 7766
|Opening hours||D Tues-Sat; group bookings only (5 or more)|
|Features||Outdoor seating, Licensed|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Chef||Elvis Abrahanowicz, Ben Milgate|
Modern Spanish? South American mezze? Span-Asian dim sum? It's tricky trying to define the culinary direction of the sleek Surry Hills diner that spawned the portentous Porteno. Among the more reliable smaller plates, Asian influences are evident in wondrous, soft, house-made steamed buns with tongue and crab. Even muffins shine, smeared with an oregano relish and served with quail eggs. Fingerling jamon and cheese croquettes are so damned good they would make a hard-boiled Spaniard swoon. But some of the large plates disappointed - confounded even - as in an untogether dish of barramundi and wilted greens with barbecued and fried calamari rings. Better are beautifully tender steamed strips of pork belly with onions and red cabbage. Dessert is a sparkling return to form with an intriguing carrot ice-cream, cheesecake and a sprinkling of crumbs, served as a droll deconstruction. Bodega is a lot of fun, and a stool up at the bar is still the place to be.