Home > Argentinian, Syd: Surry Hills, Sydney > Hottest new restaurant in town? Porteno, Surry Hills

Hottest new restaurant in town? Porteno, Surry Hills

The gents from Bodega, Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate have brought Argentian food to Surry Hills. There has been talk about this restaurant being the ‘hottest new restaurant in town’. I love Bodega, so I knew I had to give this restaurant ago and see for myself.

My friend, M, has been, but was happy enough to go again with me. She knows the chefs, and the sommelier quite well as she is a regular diner at Bodega! They are on a name-to-name, kiss on the cheeks basis! And here I thought I was a ‘regular’ at Bodega!

The week we decide to go, a cracking review of Porteno was published on the Sydney Morning Herald. I was a little worried about getting a table, so I left work early and was there by 5.45pm, I was the fourth in line. The restaurant does not open until 6pm. However, there is a bar upstairs, should you wish to have a drink prior to dinner. I waited till M arrived, and as soon as it was 6pm, we were seated to our table.

We sat right in front of the bar, and open fire Asado grill, where whole animals are being cooked, and in this case, a pig!

There’s also an open kitchen and it was really nice to be able to see how the chefs work their magic.

I asked M what we should get, and she definitely recommended the pork pate that comes with house-baked bread. The pork pate was absolutely delicious. We both agreed that if it can be bought, we would by it by the jar and just eat it day in and day out. It was fresh, creamy and well .. frigging awesome!

The service was efficient, and shortly after our pork pate, our pickled veal tongue arrived. I discovered tongue in Hong Kong, and have absolutely loved it. The veal tongue was thinly sliced, incredibly tender, slightly sour and melted in your mouth. It was good!

We ordered the beef short rib, which was served on a warm wooden platter. It was a relatively large serving, the photo below does not do any justice. The beef was slightly salty, extremely tender, and extremely succulent

Grilled and served medium rare. It was absolutely incredibly scrumptious.

I couldn’t go pass the woodfired suckling pig. Four generous pork slices, the pork meat incredibly tender, and full of flavour, the crackling, amazing! It was hard at times, M, had a piece that was just too hard to eat, but if you had the ‘good’ piece, it was chewy, gooey, crispy and was simply outstanding.

Here is a close up of the scrumptious suckling pig, pure, sheer, genius!

We ordered a side of roasted beetroot, witlof, blood orange, radish and walnut. Unfortunately, our waitress forgot our order, so we had to wait a while. We were craving some vegetables, as both M and I are not big meat eaters, and needed veggies. So when our salad finally arrived, I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. It was so refreshing, especially the fresh blood orange. The roasted beetroot was tender and full of flavour.

Unfortunately we didn’t finish everything, there was probably ¼ of the short rib and pork left. We were stuffed! I was stuffed, but we still wanted to try the dessert. The South-American Pavlova was TO DIE FOR! Oh my gawd. I am not usually a fan of pavlova as it is too sweet, but this was different, mango cheeks, crushed nuts, caramel-sweetness of dulce de leche topped with meringue. It wasn’t all covered with meringue, which meant I could pick it out. The combination of the sweetness and sourness with crushed nuts, my goodness, pure heavely. HEAVENLY! This was simply stupendous! I was full but I couldn’t help but eat more and more. It was one of the best desserts I have had thus far, it was SERIOUSLY good!

I love the layout of this restaurant, the beautiful tiles, the arches, lights, the Asado grill and open kitchen. The service was good, except for when the waitress forgot to put our salad order in. Just to give you an indication, we arrived at 6pm, and were seated immediately, by 6.30pm the restaurant was full with diners, and by 7.30pm there were only 1.5 pig left on the grill. The place was buzzing, and it will be buzzing for a while to come.

Unfortunately they don’t take bookings, but don’t fear, you can wait upstairs at the sheik, funky bar for a drink and they will call you once a table is available. I can see the attractions of this place, many male diners I have spoken too absolutely love this place! I think it is the meat factor, so if you are not a meat person, then this is not the place for you. The lamb is supposed to be their specialty, but both M and I are not lamb fans, so had to pass. However, the suckling pig… hmhmhm… marvelous!

Everything about this place screams marvelous! Food, ambience, owners! Can’t wait to go back!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10


358 Cleveland Street

Surry Hills, 2010

Ph: +61 2 9212 7766

Porteno on Urbanspoon

  1. Frank
    October 18, 2010 at 12:54 am

    sheer genius

  2. nicole
    October 19, 2010 at 6:08 am

    thank you for this! found it very useful as have been wanting to go there (am going tonight!) and was waiting for a decent blog review to which you have provided!

    • October 19, 2010 at 6:38 am

      hey nicole, thanks for dropping by! have a great time, and let me know what order. if you are not too full, get the pavlova! its SO GOOD! thanks again!

  3. Tom
    October 21, 2010 at 3:33 am

    That spit roast thing is INSANE. It actually properly reminds me of Argentina. This is how meat should be done. INSANE.

  4. October 24, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    This meal looks awesome.
    Can’t find this type of cuisine in Hong Kong at all…

    I think I am going to buy a new camera this week ~ need a better camera for an overseas trip soon!

    • October 24, 2010 at 9:54 pm

      it’s good! i love porteno and looking forward to going back in a fortnight!

      i need a new camera too – my old one is just not great for dark restaurants!

  5. Howlin
    October 28, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I enjoyed your review but why bother complaining about the waitress forgetting your salad order???
    It spoils your whole review..
    I’m sure if you were not such a spoilt westerner
    this incident would never even enter your head!
    How lucky you are to be able to afford and experience something that the Porteno team has worked so hard to deliver….
    Very minor detail
    pick something else to complain about next time

    • October 29, 2010 at 2:31 am

      hey there, many thanks for dropping by and I understand where you are coming from. I think a forgotten order needs to be mentioned in any thorough review of a restaurant, particularly one as good as Porteno. However, the food is sensational and I still enjoyed the overall experience,

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