From the same guys who brought us our favourite tapas restaurant Bodega we now have the very new and very popular Porteño. Porteño is a stylised as an Argentine grill house. As far as I can tell that is true but that is like saying Bodega is only a tapas joint. Terry Durack gives it a score of 16 out of 20 right off the bat. That will be enough for them to be awarded two Hats in the next Good Food Guide. It will be well deserved too because some of the stuff being served here is as good as it gets. The suckling pig for example is as about as good as I've ever had. Pilu at Freshwater and a restaurant in Madrid that claims to be the oldest continually operating restaurant in the world were the previous champions for suckling pig. Now I think we have a three way tie.
The lamb was divine as was the veal tongue and pork pate. We didn't try the morcilla blood sausage this time with Michelle being in the family way and all but next time... It isn't all about the meat though. Argentine grills are renowned for their meat, and Porteño is no exception, but most of their vegie dishes are excellent too. A couple of the vegie dishes are down right sublime especially the deep fried brussel sprouts. The egg plant was yummy too.
We'd heard the team from Bodega were going to be opening a new restaurant here some time ago so we had fairly high expectations. We were confident enough to even drag along the in-laws to a place we'd hadn't been before and that had only been opened for about a month. It didn't help matters much knowing they had the same no bookings policy they have at Bodega. That meant we had to rock up early. We got there at 6.30 and the place was already pumping but they managed to find us the last table for four available and right under the gaze of a portrait of Eva and Juan Peron.
Sarah, our hostess and co-owner of Porteño, is as delightful and cheerful here as she was at Bodega considering she probably has to deal with three times as many punters in an area you could drop four Bodegas in. She probably sets an impossibly high standard for her staff to follow but having said that our waiter was pretty good. So with great service and awesome food and it is only 7 minutes walk from home will we back? You betcha.
My pictures of the food are crappier than usual - in the words of the immortal Homer Simpson, "Can't talk... Eating"
Porteño is at 358 Cleveland Street Surry Hills.