Boca Del Sur
Meaning the mouth of the sea is located in a not so sleepy Sandringham as we discovered on a bustling Thursday night!
I really must get out more, I thought, seated at my table in the uproariously packed dining room. The ambiance was excitable, the service polite and precise, the room, apart from some colonial Spanish lighting, some might say fuertemente, but it’s very early days, the venue's second week I believe.
I felt like I was like dining at glamorous girl school reunion!
The service remained focused as we ordered our drinks and draft beer from señor…'wine list please'. Unfortunately tap beer was troublesome for this new eatery & bar as all the taps appeared to be dry(?). A nice bottle of pale ale and a well priced Rioja dispatched, we were on our way.
The menu continued the mouthful dialect starting with Para la boca (Mouthfuls!), these were fine examples of traditional tapas.
We sampled Boquerones marinados con ajoaceite (marinated white anchovies with parsley and garlic oil $6), delicious white anchovies faintly tasting of the sea and aged vinegar. We then moved into more substantial and creative Tapas.
I wanted to try everything here, but I was weary of my partner’s allergy to most seafood, the pick being:
- Cangrejo crujiente con salteado de habas y jamon
Tempura soft shell crab with a broad bean and jamon sauté $14
- Langostinos con aderezo de chermoula
Queensland king prawns with chermoula dressing
(Coriander, chilli, paprika, garlic, lemon zest) $15
- Ceviche de pescado con zumo de citricos y jengibre
Kingfish ceviche with citrus and ginger juice $16
I chose the Langoustinos which were more gambas but nicely cooked, sweet, not too spicy, and delicious just the same.
This was followed by Queso de cabra con miel y cebollas caramelizadas (lightly fried goats cheese with honey and caramelised onions $13). Queso de Cabra being a very famous Spanish cheese, this was more local goat’s cheese rolled and fried with some excellent onions in a sweet and sour pickle (escabeche), it was a lovely version of the famous Spanish Tapas.
We were excited to try the Catalans answer to pizza: Cocas. Listed as Las Cocas Wood Fire Pizza, often elongated or square shaped flat breads with colourful vegetable toppings and less cheese than the Italian cousin, has been my experience travelling through Spain. A note worthy snack in authentic waters which I hoped we would experience from the impressive looking wood oven.
But it's still early days for this hardworking kitchen and my wife enjoyed her Bayside translation. A round generously topped flat bread with tomatoes, caramelised onions and chorizo for only $16. Perhaps less toppings and more exposure to the active yeast in the dough will elevate this flatbread to matador status. Only time and 400 ºF (being the perfect temperature for flatbreads) will tell.
Para la mesa (Large sharing plates) was our next Iberian adventure. Service remained sharp and respectful which was highly commendable in such a new and extremely busy venture. The list of paellas looked amazing but too nautical for my guests tastes so we steered the ship into safe waters with Albondigas de ternera con salsa de tomate y vino tinto (Veal meatballs in a tomato and red wine sauce $22), meaning hazelnut like in Spanish and said to be culinary gift from the rampaging Moors.
The devil was in the detail with the conquering moors and the sauce was terrific, but these meatballs required a little more devil and detail, and was our main real culinary hurdle of the night. A large pinch of cumin salt and smoked paprika with some bread soaked in milk with lashings of soft cheese like ricotta, not Spanish I know, but will add a lovely lightness to these meaty hazelnuts señor, is my culinary tip.
Next, an authentic looking Spanish chook cut old school and perfect for the wood oven's high temperatures, Pollo al ajillo y albariño (Garlic and white wine chicken stew $24). It was well cooked and showed promise, perhaps some garlic and almond picada and more albariño would also elevate this lovely piece of cooking we thought.
For dessert we chose Churros con chocolate (Spanish doughnuts w/ dark chocolate sauce $8) from a tidy list of classic Spanglish sweets. Unfortunately lacking the necessary coating of cinnamon sugar leaving the fried dough faintly flavoured of the evenings fried goodies, despite the excellent chocolate sauce. We were won over by the Tarta de santiago (Spanish almond cake $8), it was a superb, moist, authentic, citrus kissed, cake.
This brought us to the end of a good meal, no mean feat after only a few weeks of kitchen training, which will no doubt continue to refine its enormous menu and explore the virtues of the Horno de Leña.
What Wilson says - Spanish seafood star in the making
When can we go - Wednesday to Sunday: 12noon till 10pm;