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Monday, September 14, 2009

Bodega Tapas Bar, Surry Hills, Sydney

It was a rhetorical question.

Did you want to eat at Bodega or somewhere else? I didn't hear the rest of the question.

For a tiny tapas bar, the menu is extensive - 22 different dishes and all of them so tempting.

"Fish fingers" $16
Sashimi kingfish on garlic toast with cuttlefish ceviche and mojama

The sashimi kingfish "fish fingers" is one of Bodega's signature dishes, and with good reason. It's like a seafood version of bruschetta, thin crunchy planks of garlic-rubbed toast topped with firm slices of sashimi kingfish and garnished with a liberal handful of mild onion. Tiny cubes of white are not the onion you initially presume, but a cuttlefish ceviche that is wonderfully tender.

Mojama, a salt-cured tuna, has been grated to smithereens that are sprinkled over the dish. It's a dish that is a little bit different with every bite, a party of textures and flavours in the mouth.

Jamon serrano $12

Five slices of paper-thin Jamon serrano are best eaten with fingers. And slowly. I like to tear it apart gently with fingers and savour its salty satiny softness, letting the fat melt slowly on the tongue.

Salad of fried cauliflower, chickpeas and silverbeet $16

The salad of fried cauliflower, chickpeas and silverbeet was a dish I'd neglected to order on my last visit. I don't make that mistake again.

A dish is visually striking, the florets of the cauliflower deep-fried to a golden sun-kissed brown. I can feel myself sit up straighter in my chair as soon as it arrives. The smell is incredible and it tastes as good as it looks, the nutty sweetness of the cauliflower complemented by the tender wilted silverbeet and creamy buds of chickpea.

Salad of Crystal Bay prawns $22
with veal sweetbreads, speck and lentils

Salad of Crystal Bay prawns is another great combination of flavours. You wouldn't think that prawns would go with speck and veal sweetbreads, but it's a hit here. Chunks of sweet prawn seem to have their flavour enhanced by the saltiness of speck and beautifully delicacy of sweetbreads. I love the earthiness of the lentils, satisfyingly al dente, the dish lifted by crisp and faintly bitter spiciness of radicchio.

Corn tamale with black beans and avocado $20

Corn tamale is a riot of colour. The tamale tastes like a pudding made from sweetcorn, soft and sweet and cheesy. A scattering of red capsicum on top glisten like jewels. We alternate between dipping the triangles of deep-fried tortilla into the huddle of slow-cooked black beans or the pale green dollop of avocado mash dusted with paprika.

Beetroot, witlof, labna and orange salad $16

A salad of beetroot, witlof, labna and orange is another picture of happiness. The deep crimson cubes of sweet beetroot are a lovely contrast to the chunky dollops of creamy white labna.

Chocolate yogo, Earl Grey tea ice cream and whiskey cumquat $14

We give in to dessert, chocolate yogo, earl grey tea ice cream and whiskey cumquat layered into a glass. The chocolate yogo is nothing like the supermarket variety from your childhood. This is a silky smooth chocolate mousse that plays off against the citrus flavours of boozy cumquat and the bergamot Earl Grey tea ice cream.

The highlight of dessert is the jumble of freshly made popcorn on top, each kernel coated with a pale sugar toffee. It's fun and playful and tasty. Much like Bodega Tapas Bar.

View Larger Map
Bodega on Urbanspoon

Bodega Tapas Restaurant and Bar
216 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9212 7766
Lunch: Thursday and Friday from 12pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday from 6pm

No bookings accepted. All diners must be present to be seated.
Closed on public holidays

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Bodegas Tapas Restaurant and Bar (Apr09)

Spanish - Encasa Restaurant, Sydney
Spanish - Miro Tapas Bar, Sydney (Dec 06) and (Aug 04)
18 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/14/2009 12:01:00 am


  • At 9/14/2009 10:35 am, Blogger Y said…

    You've just reminded me, it's been awhile since I last visited Bodega! The corn tamale looks yum.

  • At 9/14/2009 12:33 pm, Anonymous howard said…

    Such great colours in all the dishes, the califlower salad has me sold though!

  • At 9/14/2009 1:48 pm, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    I've always wanted to try Bodega but I think I'm always scared off places that have a no bookings policy, if I remember correctly? Everything looks fab though, I have a weakness for Jamon. And I love the popcorn on the top of the dessert, so cute and playful!

  • At 9/14/2009 2:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh Tamale!! I have been looking for a place that sell Tamale in Sydney. Haven't been to Bogeda but read a lot about this place from your blog. Popcorn on the dessert! How cute is that?

  • At 9/14/2009 2:23 pm, Anonymous Belle@OohLook said…

    That cauliflower dish made me sit up straighter, too! It looks so good and good for you. Will have to visit Bodega soon.

  • At 9/14/2009 4:46 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    This looks good - unusual combinations, but they sound really good. The popcorn dessert looks great!

  • At 9/14/2009 8:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I still havent been bodega yet X( ! I want to tryyyyy and that chocolate yogo looks soo good!

  • At 9/14/2009 9:08 pm, Anonymous Trish said…

    Oh Helen I LOVE Bodega!!! Although whenever I have dined at the restaurant I have never gotten to dessert....one day. My favourite, and something I could probably eat plate after plate of, is the Fish Fingers. Such amazing flavours and textures mmmm

    They reopen tomorrow....maybe I should go to the cucina for lunch (am thinking this is a great idea)

  • At 9/14/2009 11:35 pm, Blogger milliemirepoix said…

    This place looks adorable! (Mostly I think I love the mural on the wall... is that a bull?) And mmm, crispy cauliflower pieces.

    I'm going to have to put this on my to-visit list for when I go back to Sydney (admittedly, it will take a bit of saving before I can justify a trip, but hey, no harm in dreaming, right?)

  • At 9/15/2009 1:11 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Y - The corn tamale was delicious, almost like a dessert it was so sweet. I made sure to order the cauliflower this time following your recommendation :)

    Hi Howard - The cauliflower salad was a great. Don't you just love a salad that comes partially deep-fried?

    Hi Stephcookie - That's right, there are no bookings accepted. I guess the trick is to go early - it's worth being a little organised for food like this!

    Hi Ellie - I agree, tamale isn't often seen on menus in Sydney which is why I was keen to order it. Hope you get there soon :)

    Hi Belle - Oh yes, cauliflower is definitely good for you. Even deep-fried. lol

    Hi Arwen - I do love the way they pair flavours together that work so well. The popcorn dessert was fun but elegant, a killer combination!

    Hi FFichiban - You'll have to get there soon. Really love the flavours here and mmm... prosciutto? lol

    Hi Trish - I think lunch at the cucina is a very good idea! And definitely save room for dessert.

    Hi Millie Mirepoix - That is a bull on the wall. The decor inside is great. Let me know if you make it to Sydney!

  • At 9/15/2009 10:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Fried califlower is my current FOOD of the month, i just love it!! Though a little oily i never thought i would even bare to put it in my mouth until they make it the way they do..........


  • At 9/16/2009 2:08 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Sydneyguyrojoe - Mmm I love cauliflower. Such a great vegetable, and yes, deep-fried makes it taste even better!

  • At 9/16/2009 10:04 pm, Blogger Yas @ hungry.digital.elf. said…

    Ahhh jealous! I've tried 3 times, but always packed so much there! Hopefully sometime soon....

  • At 9/17/2009 12:31 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Yas - It does tend to get very busy so it's worth trying to go quite early or quite late. Definitely worth it though, so hope you make it there soon!

  • At 9/20/2009 5:50 pm, Anonymous Miss Dissent said…

    Great shots Helen. The food looks amazing. My mouth was watering half way through! Must go to Bodega...

  • At 9/20/2009 8:04 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Miss Dissent Thank you, and I'm surprised you haven't been to Bodega already! The food is always great.

  • At 1/18/2010 9:37 am, Blogger G said…

    I love all the publicity a place like bogeda brings to tapas..the more the merrier! And Bodega is almost as good as jah bar ;-)
    p.s. never say no to the mojama

  • At 1/19/2010 5:27 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi G - You can never have enough tapas. And lol, mojama is crazy good.


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