Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Spanish Fly

Spanish tapas, dinner time, smack bang in the middle of The Spot in Randwick. I've been here often this week; The Spot really is one of my favourite spots in Sydney. Villagey type of feel with bustling cafes and restaurants dotting the circumference of the round about. The roaring buses slamming on their brakes to drop off passengers and then racing past the pedestrian crossings to make it in time down to Coogee. Never ride one of those buses drunk...I've done it, it didn't end well.

I've heard good things about The Spanish Fly from a few of my friends who have been. It's always packed out.

We get in early to secure a seat. I mean it, it was like 5:45pm and it was off the back of a late hearty lunch at home. This place gets busy, by 6:30pm it was full. If it was Spain, we'd be rocking up to dinner at 10:30pm...just saying. FYI you can only make bookings for groups 5 people and larger.

My expectations are neutral because I've always been disappointed with Spanish in Sydney. I do enjoy the outdoor setting though and the framed poster of Dali which faces me during my meal.

I thank the universe for the memories of delicious food in Barcelona, one particular awesome little restaurant recommended by a local and hidden in one of the alley ways in the Gothic Quarter. Patatas bravas (yes the simplest of dishes) that melted in your mouth yet was still crispy. How they achieved this antithesis I'm not sure, I just thank them for it. And its spicy mayonnaisey goodness of a sauce to die for. For this reason I persist with Spanish cuisine. I know its great. They have some of the best chefs in the world. Surely I can get some scrap, some semblance of it here?

Sangria, my standard vino of one of their $15 cocktails? I figure $15 for a cocktail is decent by Sydney terms, so cocktail it is. I get their signature "Spanish Fly". Expecting it to be grandiose in appearance, after all it is their namesake cocktail, I'm disappointed when it comes out. I think it was all those thoughts about Barcelona and the Dali exhibition I saw in Berlin that got me excited in the first place.

Cocktail not flashy at all. Hard on eradicated in an instant. Poof, gone.

Taste was OK, if I could taste the alcohol then it would have been better (and made up for the other flavours lacking).

The first dish that comes out: stuffed zucchini flowers. I love tiny things, like tiny zucchini, so its a hit.

Especially because it's coupled with a generous smear of the subtle tasting roasted pimiento (capsicum) sauce.

Next are the mushrooms. Another hit. I love love love mushrooms.These are done well, pleasantly so. Texturally delightful. Tastefully enticing. The simple things really are the best.

The chicken with house made peri peri sauce follows. It’s spicy. I love it. Even with the oily bed caressing it. There’s a party in my mouth and the mushrooms are a nice respite from it. So I alternate between the two, whilst sucking down my cocktail. Sweet relief. 

I’m getting excited, I can’t wait to taste the other dishes we ordered. And this is where the meal turns.

Patatas bravas are brought out next. How can anyone get these wrong? They were clearly reheated, OMG cardinal sin! One of the most inexpensive ingredients and easiest to cook. WTF?

The slow cooked pork with pear sauce, resting on a bed of red cabbage. It’s sweet. Nice idea in theory. Even better if it wasn’t slightly warm and the crispy pork skin was well, crispy, instead of rubbery.

Chocolate pudding for dessert, or something like that. My companion talks it up before it arrives; not a good sign. I’m highly wary by this stage but willing to give it a crack, even though my sixth (food) sense told me to go for the churros.

We dig in, it's gooey. Too gooey. I'm waiting to get to some cakeyness to balance it out but I can barely scrape any cakeyness from the side or top. It's all undercooked goo. My stomach starts to turn almost immediately and I spend the next two hours sitting uncomfortably, clutching my stomach throughout the movie, wishing I never had dessert.

Total of six dishes consumed between two people, plus one cocktail. The bill shy of $100. The verdict: The Spanish Fly is neither here nor there, but perhaps worth me giving it another try and ordering the fave dishes of our friendly waiter such as the king prawns or the lamb. I'd go back for the mushies, chicken and zucchini flowers alone. For a not so extensive menu, there were quite a few seafood dishes (which my companion is allergic to hence why I didn't try any). The atmosphere is great, the service is friendly and the neighbourhood bustling. A great date night spot and I suspect the more sangria, wine or cocktails consumed, the better the food will taste and the easier it will go down.

Try it and then watch a movie at the Ritz. Oh yeah, and try the churros and let me know how they are!

The Spanish Fly
35 St Pauls Street
The Spot, Randwick 

The Spanish Fly on Urbanspoon

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