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Monday, March 17, 2008

Encasa Restaurant, Sydney

Albondigas $11.00
Beef meatballs in almond sauce

I like this end of Pitt Street, the southern end near the Capitol Theatre. Here on this block you find a backpacker hostel, a dim sim factory, the Chamberlain Hotel on the corner and an assortment of cheap and cheerful Thai restaurants.

And then there's Encasa, a little patch of Spain in Thainatown, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it entrance were it not for the tantalising greeting of garlic and wafts of freshly baked pizza from the wood-fired oven out the front.

Sardinas en Vinagre $9.00
Sardine fillets marinated in olive oil, vinegar and garlic

We've eaten here a couple of times now, forgoing pizza for tapas each time. It's always fully booked on Friday lunchtimes, happy workers buoyed by jugs of potent sangria (guilty as charged, your Honour).

Sardine fillets are always a joy, delicate fillets covered liberally with olive oil and garlic. Albondigas meat balls don't light my fire, but the big hearty orbs of mince and almond meal bring big smiles of happiness to the blokes at the table.

Chorizo a la Sidra $10.00
Spanish sausage poached in cider

Chunky slices of chorizo are seared to a crisp on one side, then presented in a terracotta dish of tangy cider and olive oil. They're not particularly spicy but we revel in their juiciness and smoky flavour.

Tortilla Española $7.00
Omelette with potato and onion

Tortilla espanola is always my must-order dish at tapas. Our tortilla is cooked-to-order, thin slices of tender potato sweetened by the presence of onion, set in a golden omelette.

Champiñones al Ajillo $8.00
Sizzling garlic mushrooms

Garlic mushrooms arrive with a sticky muddle of caramelised garlic, but the prawn version is even better. The garlic prawns are plump and shiny but the greater treasure is the leftover oil, richly sweet with the flavours of prawn, garlic, chilli and salt.

A basket of plain bread rolls disappears in a flash. More bread rolls, we cry, batting away waitstaff who attempt to take away our precious lake of garlic oil.

Replenishments arrive. We rip them up into chunks and proceed to mop up the remnants of every dish. Olive oil and garlic. Liquid gold.

Gambas al Ajillo $12.00
Peeled king prawns in sizzling garlic oil and chilli

Encasa Restaurant
423 Pitt Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9211 4257

Lunch Tuesday to Friday 12.00pm – 2.30 pm
Dinner Monday to Saturday 5.30pm – late

Closed on most public holidays

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Spanish--Don Quixote
Spanish--El Porron
Spanish--Miro Tapas Bar (Dec 06) and (Aug 04)
3 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/17/2008 12:45:00 am


  • At 3/17/2008 1:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    One of my Sydney faves, definitely at the dodgy end of Pitt Street. My favourite dish is polpa a la plancha (grilled octopus), with a nice albarino on the side of course.

    I always order too much at this place.

  • At 3/17/2008 5:54 pm, Blogger Jen said…

    We were here just last Monday. Luckily it wasn't too hard to find a table. We had a couple of the same dishes as you guys, you can never go wrong with chorizo. We also had the lamb skewers, which I remember being so succulent and juicy, it didn't even feel like eating meat.

  • At 3/19/2008 12:25 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi mr_gimlet - I think tapas is like yum cha. Over-ordering is part of the fun :)

    Hi jenjen - We've had the lamb skewers before, too. I remember they were rather tasty, and I agree, chorizo is always a must.


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