Sublime meal at Porteno, Surry Hills
It has been a month since my last visit. I have been saving our next visit for a special occasion, being my Dad’s birthday! I booked this restaurant about 3 weeks ago, I originally wanted Saturday night but that was already fully booked, so opted for Friday instead.
Porteno takes reservation for a party of 5 and more – phew, there were 6 of us! I had to give them my credit card details to ‘secure’ the booking. For each person that cancels after confirming, a $50 surcharge will incur and charged to your credit card. I had no qualms in giving them my details as I knew we would all be there. I have been raving about this place to my parents, my brother and ‘The Mother’ and well, I have to say – it did not disappoint!
We rocked up at 6pm, my parents absolutely loved the venue – the high ceilings, the open kitchen and my mother especially LOVED the Asado grill!
My Dad loved the wooden ovens and was wondering how he could put one in their kitchen. My brother and ‘The Mother’ loved the atmosphere and ambiance. They all left me with the ordering – it was a big call!
We started with Pan de Casa, pork pate and house-baked bread. The bread was fresh, served at room temperature and the pork pate was creamy, and absolutely divine. It really wasn’t enough for the 6 of us! My brother agreed with me in that he would buy it by the jar!
Next came Empanada de Carne, beef empanada – similar to beef curry puffs which are home made. The beef empandas were crispy on the outside and stuffed with delicious beef and vegetables. It was deliciously moist and better than your normal curry puffs!
Eaten with chimmichurri sauce which consisted of chopped parsley, garlic, chili and lemon juice, it was just magnifique! We loved the chimmichurri sauce so much that we asked our waiter to refill it a couple of times.
The Esalada de Remolacha, roasted beetroot, witlof, blood orange, radish and walnut was well liked by the diners, especially my mother and I who loves beetroot. It was refreshing, light and the blood orange really gave it that extra zing, and flavour.
Next Costillar de Cordero, Suffolk lamb ribs. I had the tiniest piece possible, as I am really not a huge fan of lamb! To me, it was just too lamb-y and had that overpowering lamb smell. I have to admit though, the lamb was incredibly succulent and tender, the skin deliciously crispy and a little fatty side. The boys certainly enjoyed it – my brother kept saying how ‘fantastic’ it was. But he is HUGE lamb fan, just like ‘The Mother’.
‘The Mother’ wanted to try Morcilla, blood sausage with red peppers in garlic. Three juicy, fatty looking sausages were presented before us. I have never had blood sausage, and it was surprisingly tasty, sweet flavour and the roasted and marinated capsicum was a great complement. The blood sausage consisted of pig’s blood and diced pork fat, and wasn’t as fatty as I thought. It was surprisingly good!
We had a serving of Ensalada de Remolacha, braised green beans, borlotti, ricotta and oregano. This was incredibly tasty and full of flavour. The bean was tender, and the combination of borlotti, ricotta and oregano was heavenly! ‘The Mother’ didn’t seem to enjoy this though, he thought it was just too creamy but we all thought it was lovely. (Photo uber blurry!)
Next came Tira de Asado, coorong beef short ribs, a generous serving of delectable juicy beef ribs. The ribs were seriously tender, seriously succulent, and seriously AMAZING! It was good. Yes. THAT good!
Next Entrana, beef inside skirt, cut into strips and served on a wooden board. It was absolutely superb– pink centre, slightly salty, wonderfully succulent and perfectly cooked. Tasty just doesn’t begin to describe how wonderful the beef was. It just melted in your mouth, it was that tender, it was just heavenly! The most tender beef I have eaten thus far. A favourite amongst the boys!
Last but not least – they say save the best for last and for me – this was definitely the case! Chanchito a la cruz, woodfire suckling pig – one word – OUTSTANDING! It was a generous serving, we all fought for the chewy, stuck in your teeth gooey crispy pork skin. It was fatty, it was meaty, it was tender, and it was frigging stupendous. Just like the beef above, no words can describe how magnificent this suckling pig was. All the diners knew my love for pork, and yes – I ate majority. I had to pause. Take a moment. Soak it all in – it was amazingly good! The second time was infinitely better.
I couldn’t leave without eating dessert – two desserts for the 6 of us. We were all getting pretty full, and the ladies, well, we were watching our weight for my brother’s wedding!
They had to try the South American Pavlova – it was a MUST! It was as good as I remembered it to be, mango cheeks, crushed nuts, caramel sweetness of dulce de leche topped with meringue. We fought for this – every single mouthful was better than the next! I loved the combination of the sweetness and sourness with crush nuts – I was in heaven!
I can’t remember the name of this (yes very very bad of me!) however this was also heavenly! Delicious creamy chocolate ice cream, served with a brule type dessert, drizzled with caramel sauce and kumquat with popcorn – sounds weird but it was splendid! You would think after all that food we would be full, but no, we couldn’t put our spoon down and just wanted more.
It was a very metalicious meal – one that we all totally and utterly enjoyed! I have to say, I do love this restaurant! It was great the first time, but SUBLIME the second time round! I love! The boys loved it, the girls loved it – won’t be the last time we go back.
To my dearest Dad – Happy Birthday!
GA’s ratings: 9 / 10
358 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills, 2010
Ph: +61 2 9212 7766