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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cocktails at Gardel's Bar and a date at Porteno

I had a chance to hit Gardel's Bar and Porteno on my trip to Sydney.  Gardel's is located upstairs from Porteno, an Argentinean Grill located in Surry Hills.  I came upon it one night after a few drinks at Tio's.  It was nice walk and we were greeted with smiles as we approached the bar.  The GM, Michael warmed us up with a highball cocktail called Corn N' Oil. It had Appleton VX Rum, housemade Falernum, some Angostura Bitters and fresh lime. It sure got our taste buds going as we surveyed the Bar Menu for a snack.  It was a great sneak peak of Porteno's kitchen.
I was intrigued by the Pumpkin & Fetta Empanada with Garlic Yoghurt Sauce.  It had both a sweet and spicy texture to the dish.  And it definitely called for another cocktail.  At this point, we had been chatting up Michael about his cocktail style and menu.  He was so gracious to offer us a gift, a Banana Old Fashioned.
Man, was this a great drink.  It had banana-infused Jack Daniels, and house-smoked maple syrup. It was batched and stirred over a distinct ice cube.   The cocktail was sweet and delicious and went down quite quickly. We were munching on the Lamb Kofta with Zucchini Yoghurt, another excellent offering out of the kitchen.  It was everything one would want when experiencing this place for the first time.

I did have a chance to experience Porteno on a date a few days later.  I was with a very handsome lad who had met up with me at my favorite bar called Vasco down the block and across the street.  We checked in for our reservation a bit early, so I could introduce him to my mate Michael upstairs at Gardel's.  We had a drink before the hostess scooped us up and sat us downstairs in the main dining room.  It was the perfect setting and my company was easy to look at as we perused the menu.
Our first dish was the Ensalada Palermo Viejo. This dish was a great opener with this amazing BBQ eggplant that had a smokey finish to it. It was accompanied with Peppers, Cauliflower and a Quail Egg.  It also was dressed a bit with Tahini.
From there, we ordered the BBQ Calamari and that blew our socks off.  It had this aioli that was screaming and I believe there was some chorizo in the dish to give it some pep.
Of course, we had to try some of their famous meat cooked in that beautiful pit of fire.  That and some sides of broccoli and polenta about did us in.  My date was excited to try this place with me for the first time as well.  I imagine he's been back since.  I certainly want to return and see him. ;)