Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bodega - Spanish Tapas Bar, Surry Hills

Just taking a short break from writing about last month's asian adventures (how I wish I was still on vacation), and momentarily ignoring the backlog of blogs around Sydney that have yet been posted - I wanted to write about our date to Bodega while all that spanish wine is possibly still in my system.
Sydney experiencing an ugly winter and Demos and I have been hibernating at home with red wine and the Discovery Channel. After picking me up from work we head over to Surry Hills, our favourite eating destination - nothing like friday night date night to end a long long work week!

I have been wanting to visit Bodega for a while now, nothing warms my heart like the words "Spanish Tapas Bar" does. I was prepared to wait a while, in true Surry Hills style, Bodega does not take bookings and there is usually a long wait to be seated. As luck has it, we arrive at 6.05 and are seated promptly in the long communal table in the middle of the restaurant. 
I loved the vibe of the place, it was colourful and cosy - and with an open kitchen in the same area as the tables - the smell and the warmth was just wonderful. I would have loved to sit by the bar and watch the cooks work their magic - perhaps on the next visit?
Romance and Red Wine go hand in hand, and Bodega offers a great wine list - just wine though, no cocktails. Demos has a glass or three of Beronia ciranzena Tempranillo 2006 from Rioja, Spain and I enjoy my delicious glass of Mil Piedras Sangiovesse 2007 from Mendoza, Argentina. We should have opted to share a bottle but hey - Let the romance begin, I say! The freshly shaved Jamon Serrano was a great start - salty, not too dry and it was a generous serving for $12.00 a plate.
As I post the photo above, my tummy rumbles for more of those Empanda's. I could eat them all day. I don't what it is about the combination of meat and pastry that makes my heart skip a beat - but these empanada's are definitely hot little pockets of love. Demos and I share the pumpkin and feta empanada and the filling just oozes out of the crispy pastry shell. The texture is like mashed potato, but far from plain and boring. The beef empanada also has a mild filling, but it so delicious you just want to throw it in your mouth even if it scalds you - avoid mouth burns by generously slathering the creamy labna and salsa its served with. Each Empanada was $4.00
The spicy calamari ($18.00) and the corn tamale ($20.00) were both outstanding dishes. If food was an drug, then crispy calamari would be my heroin. This variation was indeed spicier and very very tasty. Not spicy enough to burn your mouth, but just pleasant - like a relaxing fireplace. I usually can't eat spicy dishes, and if the heat does get you on this dish - have no fear the creamy aoli is near! Demos and I both enjoyed The Corn Tamale dish - it was unlike anything we have had before, but the flavours were indeed yummy. Its a generous serving and very pleasing to the eye. The tamale was not starchy or rubbery at all, i just wish they would add a few more corn kernels into the dough for that sweet crunch. The black beans and the guacamole added that delicious spanish flavour, and the crispy corn chips did provide that crunch i'm always after. This has been the only place in Sydney where I have found yummy Tamales!

We also tried the spanish chorizo ($14.00), and slathered the spicy chilli salsa over each bite. This is comfort food without a doubt. The salsa also goes well with the corn tamales and was a taste sensation. By this time, we were teetering on the brink of over eating. We wanted to try the famous Bodega fish fingers (Kingfish portions and green salsa over toasted bread) and the Wagyu Tounge (which admired from afar when our table neighbours ordered it) - but we opted for dessert instead.
Now folks, this is Bodega's Banana split ($14.00) Where is the Banana you ask? Well - it is underneath that dulce de leche ice cream, mashed to perfection. There is also a banana foam mound, next to the ice cream which gives the whole meal a different and even more interesting texture. The highlight was the Cream Flan, topped with a thin crunchy biscotti. Its not sickeningly sweet at all the way creme caramel is - rather it balances out the whole dish with its tart flavour. 
Good Tapas did not come cheap but our bill was reasonable at $60 a head - including a few glasses of wine. Will be definitely visiting again for a tamale fix, and maybe for another round of romance - with Demos of course, not the food.

216 Commonweath St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
02 9212 7766

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Bodega on Urbanspoon


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Damn, it was not a good idea to read this while waiting for hubby to come home for dinner! :P

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