358 Cleveland Street Surry Hills, New South Wales 2010
|Opening hours||Lunch Sun, Dinner Tues-Sat from 6pm|
|Features||Accepts bookings, Bar, Events, Gluten-free options, Groups, Licensed, Private dining, Vegetarian friendly, Wheelchair access|
|Prices||Expensive (mains over $40)|
|Chef||Elvis Abrahanowicz, Ben Milgate|
|Payments||eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||02 8399 1440|
Now and then, a restaurant comes along that's both 'now' and 'then'. Two years on, the nightly queues for flame-roasted meat and imaginative, often vegetable-based shared dishes prove that Porteno is still very much 'now'. The rockabilly owner-chefs and glam '50s front-of-house goddess Sarah Doyle tick the 'then' box, as do the elegant wrought-iron trims that could have been here forever. Besides the justly famous suckling pig, crucified over the central fire pit, there's also succulent spatchcock, adorned only with scattered salt flakes. Barbecued calamari's charred flavours work well with chickpeas and an oily, tangy sofrito, while a salad of roasted beetroot and house-made jersey milk fetta is studded with smoky pecans and roasted, chilli-stuffed olives. Burnt milk custard also shows the sweet aroma of the grill, the sugar cooked first in the coals, then balanced with a puddle of smooth, sour orange jam. The added crunch of rosemary popcorn is a bit like Froot Loops on steroids. What fun.