No question about it - this is the place to be right now. Oh yes, this multi-talented crew know their stuff. From each and every angle Porteno is a winner. Needless to say the Argentinian food (both trad and inspired) is lipsmackolicious but the energy, the hospitality, the sense of being in someone's home (even though it is a seriously huge space), the music, the blazing asador and the sensational signature cocktails just make you wanna keep going back. This particular visit was on a teeth-chatteringly cold night, midweek during a long stint of torrential rain - and the place was pumping. You just can't keep em away.
With first child Bodega being well cared for a few blocks away, Ben and Elvis keep themselves busy stoking the flames at Porteno, the gorgeous Sarah (this month's Sydney Timeout Covergirl) ensures you feel like part of the family as soon as you walk through the door and lovely Joe keeps the cellar well stocked with the good stuff. It is too easy to feel like you never wanna go home and I am pretty sure that there is the odd night when the crew have to tip a few stragglers out into the street when the amazing upstairs bar, Gardel's, shuts its doors for the evening.
Pickled veal tongue, pork pate, house-made bread and cured olives, spiced eggplant - not a bad start..
Grilled Tuna with asparagus, charred jalapeno and garlic dressing
Oh God - I can't even look at this slow cooked suckling pig without wanting to head straight to the restaurant... Succulent porky goodness with oh so crisp "i'll fight ya for it" crackling
Red cabbage slaw with grapes - a really light, zesty rendition that perfectly balances out the rich meaty fare
The famous fried brussel sprouts with lentils and mint - too good to be vego!!
A nice bit o sirloin
Elvis doing some legwork
Burnt milk custard on orange jam with chocolate ice cream
Naturally we couldn't leave without a cocktail .... "Thank you for smoking" seriously rocks. Bourbon, house smoked Vermouth and maple syrup and chocolate bitters - ah, hello new addiction. However, the others all sound so good that I might need to make my way through the list. Above is just a small selection of the offerings..
How divine is this room? Porteno really manages to transport you to another place and time.
Gardel's - the upstairs bar
The lovely Sarah's magnificent umbrella system!
Porteno has just been named "best new restaurant" by Sydney Timeout Mag! Congrats guys - well deserved. xx