Tapavino, Bulletin Place

Tapavino is down a little laneway behind the Marriott Hotel at the Circular Quay end of Pitt Street.  It’s an inviting, warm and cozy place which smells of chorizo – in a good way, not a “Ugh I’ll have to wash my hair again, it smells of chorizo” way.  The waitstaff strike a great balance between friendly and super professional, and were helpful with recommendations and suggestions without being pushy.  So even before the boys and I had eaten anything, we already liked Tapavino!

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It has a snug bar area downstairs and a larger space upstairs with tables you can book.

Now to the food.  I am replaying the meal in my head in slow motion.  Gosh is was nice.  Each small dish was a new delight of flavours, but nothing was overdone: maybe 3-4 ingredients per dish, max.  The mashed broadbean, green pea, mint & goats curd tostado was the nicest thing I have eaten since I last used that superlative.  Three small rounds of thin, crispy, salty, olive-oiled toast (reminiscent of Bagel Crisps) topped with a veritable tennis ball of green goodness.  The mackerel & celeriac tostado was equally divine – like celeriac remoulade with a smokey, fishy edge.

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TENNIS BALL of delicious greens + goats curd

Tuna cruda comprised fat tongues of fishie macerated in a piquant sherry dressing with crushed hazelnuts which I am going to try to reproduce.  A watermelon, cucumber & black olive salad was slightly warm – either the dressing was warm or the watermelon had been lightly grilled (can one grill watermelon?) – either way it was a perfect winter’s night twist on an otherwise summery salad. It complemented a rich dish of baked chorizo with black olives and romesco sauce.

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Warm watermelon. Oddly fine. Hubby was more alarmed by the olives paired with it, but that’s just because he’s not a sophisticated foodie like moi.

A delicate dish of sea perch with egg, piquillo peppers, potato & sherry mayo came wrapped in paper: the fish and its friends had been baked al cartoccio, which created lovely soft flesh and a pool of lemony, briney, creamy juice.  On that note: the only criticism of the whole meal was that our plates were shallow rectangles and we weren’t given spoons, so a lot of the residual juices and sauces from the dishes couldn’t be easily got at.

We finished with heavy stuff: beef short ribs with salsa verde, and a mushroom & black truffled tart topped with jamon & shaved manchego.  At that point my usually hollow legs started to reach capacity. The tart with jamon was a deconstructed Spanish version of The Fanciest Quiche Lorraine Ever – a fat slice of eggy, many-mushroomed tart, draped with half a pig’s worth of finely sliced prosciutto – sorry, jamon – and a light snowfall of finely grated machengo cheese.  The tender beef short ribs could be cut with a spoon, and the salsa verde was sneakily cheesy and dared you to lick the plate clean.

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Conquer the jamon mountain! Find the mushroom quiche!

Pudding would’ve been lovely I’m sure, but we were stuffed.  Next time I would eat less tapas and finish with the dulce du leche tart, and a treacly Pedro Ximenez sherry.  In fact we were pretty rubbish with the vino side of things – it was a school night, so we just had the Esciandor Sidra, which came in hilarious neon ‘attractive to children’ cans, which in no way betrayed the crisp, pongy, [alcoholic] apple-y goodness within.  The wine and sherry lists were extensive and I imagine the waitstaff would be able to suggest appropriate tapa y vino pairings.

[NB: I did all those things next visit as promised: see here!]

I really cannot recommend Tapavino highly enough.  It’s closed at weekends – which seems odd – but if you work in town you really ought put it on your ‘after work drinks venue’ list, should you have one.  And do save room for pudding and sherry!

Tapavino on Urbanspoon

One thought on “Tapavino, Bulletin Place

  1. Pingback: Tapavino Take Two | Food. Travel. Superlatives.

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