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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Don Quixote, Sydney

EDIT: Don Quixote has closed and been replaced by The Sanctuary Hotel.

Suckling Pig.

Two words which trigger salivary overdrive for many a gluttonous foodie.

In search of the perfect venue for a foodie Christmas function, we headed to Don Quixote to er... pig out.

Don Quixote has been around since 1968, but has only been in its current premises in the heart of the Spanish Quarter since 1999. Inside, the restaurant is open and airy with plenty of rustic wooden chairs and tables, red brick walls and terracotta tiles.

We elected for a banquet menu with a few edits at our request.
NB. Prices quoted are a la carte prices.

Mejillones frescos a la marinera $18.50
Mussels cooked in onion, tomato salsa and aromatic herbs

Gambas al ajillo $19.00
Prawns cooked with olive oil, chilli and garlic

Calamares $18.00
Deep-fried squid rings with lemon and tartare sauce

Paella Valenciana $50.00 (for two)
Spanish national rice dish cooked with chicken, prawns, mussels, scallops and blue swimmer crab.

Jamoncitos de pollo a la catalana
Chicken cooked in tomato, onion, capsicum, mushrooms and white wine sauce

Toston Sancho Panza $30.00
Suckling pig, basted and stuffed with a traditional seasoning.

The mussels and chicken were both tasty and the suckling pig was tender, but somehow our grand visions of carnivorous satiation weren't quite realised. There was plenty of pork available, but a bit of wow factor was lacking by the pork being presented already carved, rather than whole. Maybe our expectations of suckling pig were too high, or maybe my tastebuds were clouded by (inaccurate) visions of fatty pork with crispy crunchy crackling, as the Chinese do.

Indeed roast suckling pig can be prepared a myriad of different ways as I have since discovered. Try Balinese, Cuban, Russian or Lithuanian. Don't have a spare piglet in the larder? Then make one out of sausage. Plenty to get your snout into.

Don Quixote (CLOSED - now The Sanctuary Hotel)
545 Kent St (Cnr Liverpool St) Sydney
Tel: 02 9264 5903

7 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 11/25/2004 11:59:00 pm


  • At 12/13/2004 2:27 pm, Blogger Ben said…

    I've been to Don Quixote at its new site and its old one. Both times I was underwhelmed by both the food and the service. I heartily agree with your comments about the suckling pig - it was simply pig that sucked!

    If your going to hype up a signature dish you have to do it well. Even newbies likle the pair that ran Room 19 in My Restaurant Rules understood that your signature dish has to be something a bit different. (BTW - apparently Seven has signed Ian "Dicko" Perrygrove to host the second season of MRR - a breathtaking act of televisual suicide. I can't think of a better way to kill of a host, show and format all in one go!)

  • At 12/13/2004 3:07 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    BHR - I'm glad I wasn't the only one who was underwhelmed. I'm reluctant to cast final judgement since I haven't had roast suckling before (apart from Chinese-wedding style--which incidentally, I still have hallucinatory visions of).

    I have heard that Capitan Torres do serve the suckling pig whole to pre-booked groups. Has any else had the pleasure?

    And re: Dicko and MRR. Dicko can speak quickly! Never underestimate this verbal skill. I'm looking forward to the series return!

  • At 12/14/2004 10:07 am, Blogger Ben said…

    I've been to Captain Torres twice, though the trips were separated by nine years (1994 and 2003)and I found it to be pretty good on both occasions. My ability to judge it meaningfully may be limited as I got pretty drunk on sangria the last time I was there.

    The problem I've noticed with every Spanish-style suckling pig I've ever had is that there is a musty favour that pervades the meat. Maybe it's an acquired taste but I've never liked it.

  • At 12/16/2004 1:35 pm, Blogger Ben said…

    I've been thinking about what you said about Dicko possibly being okay. I think unlike a lot of people I didn't think Curtis Stone sucked - but this may be because I already liked his cooking.

    I thought that the series on the ABC he did with Ben O'Donoghue, Surfing the Menu, was great. You can stream the episodes via RealPlayer - take a look. I can't believe that they've actually made so much of the shows content available online - I feel likie I'm getting a freebie every time I visit the site!

  • At 12/17/2004 10:41 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    I also really liked watching BBC2's The Best because it showed the different ways you can prepare the same ingredient/dish. I used to watch this when I was in the UK and I was always barracking for Ben (the Aussie).

    And then of course there's the delightful frenetic and entertaining Ready, Steady, Cook which is broadcast here on pay TV I believe.

    Not to mention Iron Chef. But I digress...

  • At 12/22/2006 2:09 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Would just like too say that i have been to the Don Quixote many times and had the suckling pig and i think it is a fantastic dish, and if you have a large group enough to have a whole pig, you can request that it be brought out whole to the table, this is what we have done on many occasions

  • At 1/13/2007 11:49 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Anon - I'd love to see a whole pig being brought out. Sounds fabulous - I might have to make some more friends in the interim!


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