Kickin' off the series of Sydney Restaurant reviews with this meal that we had on our first night in Sydney. One of the many great places recommended by a dear friend in the food blogging community (based in Sydney), this restaurant has really become one of our highlights of the ENTIRE trip! (It's so great to have foodie friends that you trust and whose opinions you really respect in different places around the world)
Next to our dinner at Marque, our meal at Porteño was HANDS DOWN our most cherished, highly missed and talked about meal of the entire trip. And we had a LOT of really great meals during the whole trip to choose from! Was it better? Debatable. But definitely most memorable.
Porteño is an Argentinian Grill restaurant. That's right, Argentinian Grill... We weren't sure what it was, never had anything like it before, but boy oh boy... Everything that night was PERFECT, alright! After the meal, just saying Argentinian Grill makes us go bonkers. Argentinian Grill... Argentinian Grill... Argentinian Grill... Alright, enough.
Though, please don't be silly like me and think that people in Argentina grill meat very differently from every other part of the world. It's just that this place serves Argentinian food and also has a grill. Heh ;p
The signature dish at this restaurant is definitely the roast suckling pig and lamb. This is something you HAVE to order and you can see it at almost every table in the restaurant. First thing every day at the restaurant, the pig and lamb are roasted on the open fire pit for at least 8hrs up until service time. Heavenly, is the word, by the way.
Amazing sight, no?
The interiors were very classic and welcoming with a strong Spanish Casa feel to it, which I loved.
I'm glad I went to dinner with these two buddies of mine. Because there were lots of exotic dishes that I REALLY wanted to try such as pate, blood sausage, sweetbread and so did they. Awesome. On to the food...
"Pan De Casa" -- House Baked Bread with Olive Oil & Pork Pate
Pate was very smooth but actually wished the taste of liver would be stronger for this one. Maybe it was cause it was almost 9pm (long wait for dinner lol), but our bread rolls were really solid and a bit too burnt. Though, I didn't mind because I'm pretty much used to this at most places? Would be much different if you ate at the start of the night.
Pate with Chimichurri and Salsa as condiments on bread
Enjoyed the chimichurri a lot, a classic Argentinian condiment. Very fresh and spicy too. Also eaten with the other meat dishes to come.
Salsa was really great as the acid really helped to "cut" through all the fats we ate so we wouldn't feel as bloated as we normally would.
"Repollitos de Brusela Frito" -- Crispy Fried Brussel Sprouts with Lentil and Mint
Another signature dish of the restaurant. Even if you're not a brussel sprouts lover (which I am), try it! You could taste the crunch from each layer of this tiny cabbage and the lentils tasted amazing too. Yummo~
"Mollejas De Corazon" -- Deep-fried Veal Sweetbread
As soon as I saw this item on the menu, I knew I HAD to order it! Thankfully my friends were up to try it too, phew! Correct me if I'm wrong, but sweetbread is a very loose term for many things including brain, glands and some other innards of the animal. The one we had was the pancreas.
I loooved the sweetbread!! It was so crispy on the outside but really creamy and chewy on the inside, with a lingering aftertaste too YUM! Tasted a bit like fried mackerel/sardine.
"Morcilla" -- Blood Sausage with Peppers in Garlic
This was also really nice, we loved it a lot. Though it was very rich (you can feel it from the first bite) but it had a deep and intense flavour, delicious!
For others, this was not as rich as the sweetbread but I guess it depends in which order you had the food. I had this later after 2 pieces of sweetbread, so I felt it more
Note: Please do not to take more than one piece per person for the sweetbread and blood sausage. Trust me or you might feel really bloated after
"Cordero A La Cruz" -- 8 hour Woodfired Free Range Lamb
Ahh.. As soon as "Hero Dish #1" hit the table, eyes were lit and jaws were dropped. And let me tell you, this lamb was craaazy good!!! The texture is just as soft and moist as rare meat but it had no blood at all! "The effect of slow cooking over an open fire for many hours", I thought. Slightly chewier than the pork, but still very, very good.
And the skin was sooo crazy thin and crispy and all the fats melted instantly in your mouth! RICH, but oh so gooood...
"Chanchito A La Cruz" -- 8 hour Woodfired Free Range Suckling Pig
Pork was another ripper of a dish. The meat was just sooo soft (just like the lamb) and full of the meaty flavour of the pork. Pink, but completely cooked through. I've never had pork that tasted this soft.
A big, thick piece of meat that just breaks apart so easily in your mouth in just a few bites. What a memorable sensation of pork. Wow wow wooow.... Loved them both, not a single dry meat on the table.
If I had to pick, skin was better for the Lamb and meat was better for the Pork. Mmmmmm...
Big smiles from every one after a truly unforgettable meal =)
So, if you live in Sydney or are visiting this beautiful city and haven't been to Porteño yet, I suggest that you give this place a try!
I guarantee that you will find this meal just as enjoyable/unforgettable as we did. Though, the dishes can be very filling and rich so please order accordingly. We solved this problem by going straight for supper/dessert at Meetfresh in the city. Bright thinkers, we are.
Have fun, you guys!! =D
Note to diners:
(i) This place has got a very, very long waiting queue so please be prepared, but it really is worth the wait
(ii) I highly recommend going in groups of at least 5 to be able to taste the amazing variety of dishes that they offer without paying/eating too much, like we did
The quantity of food we ordered was just nice for 5 ppl, despite having only 3 eaters (other friend joined later but didn't eat). We were visiting Sydney so we didn't mind being excessive because we came all the way and wanted to sample as much as we could. If you can, try and avoid this so you can enjoy your meal a bit more =)