It was quite a spontaneous decision to head down to Porteno for dinner. We have been living in Surry since the move and it is kind of embarrassing that it is so close to us and yet we have not been! And there were many instances that I tried booking for bigger groups and never followed through. It has been a total failure. But will you blame me? There are so much good food around us that Porteno is just one of the many….. LOL
Porteno open its door at 6pm and we arrived a little after. Bad mistake if you want a table. One will have to be there about 5pm to get a table for its first round. Many like us had our name taken down and then ushered upstairs to Gardel’s Bar for our hour and forty-five minutes wait. There is no regrets as I found and fell in love with the West Winds Cutlass G&T that Mister ordered. Gardel’s version of G&T is a mix of tonic, celery bitters and cucumber. It is incredibly delicious! I did also enjoy the rum cocktail – Dark & Stormy. It’s Goslings ‘Black Seal’ rum, spicy ginger, honey syrup, soda and fresh lime. Very yummy as well. They make great cocktails here.
Mister and I ordered smoked chicken wings ($14) while we wait for our table. I like the subtlety of the smokiness and the kick from the jalapeno hot sauce that came with it. Those chicken wings did not last very long.
Our table finally arrived after an hour and forty-five minutes. And we were seated right next to the open fire when the suckling pigs are cooked. Well, by the time we got our table, there was not much left on the open fire but there is still plenty of action to be seen on the open grill by tattooed men with slick back hair.
I had to order the morcilla ($12). It’s blood sausage with red pepper in garlic. Super awesome and delicious morcilla. I love the slightly charred exterior of the morcilla that is just juxtaposed with the creamy insides. The red peppers with the hint of garlic and the generous amount of olive oil brought it all together really well. I am in love!
And then came the Chanchito a la Cruz or also known as the 8 hour woodfired pig ($46). The crackling is to die for and I can just have the whole bowl of it please. The meat was super tender and packed with natural flavour. We were told to use the chimichurri sauce with it. Was it worth the hour and forty-five minutes wait though? As much as I love to say yes, I think I am really hard to please. But the crackling…. so I might just do this again.
We ordered a bit of greens to accompany our fatty pork dish. Instead of going for something lighter, I ordered the crispy fried brussel sprouts with lentils & mint ($16). It is really awesome but I think with all the oil and the fattiness, it became a little overwhelming for us. My advise is to go easy with the ordering of too much fried or oily dishes.
We were close to bursting but will be so rude if no dessert was ordered. We went for the Leche Quemada ($16). It’s a burnt milk custard with rhuburb, fennel ice cream and oats. It is delicious! Not overly sweet at all. The rhuburb still holds its sharpness but not offensive. The combination of rhuburb and fennel is surprisingly good. It compliment each other and can stand out by itself. It was a very well balanced dessert. Mister ordered a Noe Pedro Ximenez Muy Viejo (30yrs) ($19.50). It is superb and how can I go back to normal Pedro Ximenez now? I have been spoilt!
Our spontaneous dinner at Porteno turned out really well despite the long wait. It was also kind of a spontaneous date night that ended in great conversations and satisfying tummies. And now we are no longer embarrassed at the thought of not having been to Porteno! Also we found another cool bar to hang out in Surry Hills.
Porteno & Gardel’s Bar
358 Cleveland St Surry Hills NSW 2010 Tel: (02) 8399 1440
Opening Hours: Tues – Saturday from 6pm