30 April 2012

La Bodeguita Del Medio: Cuban Restaurant & Bar, CBD Sydney (19 Oct 2011)

125 York Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Rum your way into Cuba

Thanks to Tony Maia (Venue Manager) of La Bodeguita Del Medio for inviting me as a guest to sample some of the dishes by Head Chef Danny Parreno and a few rum-based cocktails from the bar. You can’t go too wrong with the Mojito ($14) which is probably what LBDM are best known for but the Blood & Sand ($16) had well-balanced flavours which I probably enjoyed even more. The Ernest's Breakfast ($17) was pretty strong on the alcohol, the Clover Club ($16) was more subtle and the Nacional ($15) had fruity overtones. For a selection of cured meats the Embutidos ($22) did the trick. The chorizo was very spicy although I couldn’t work out where the pickles were as listed on the menu. The Half shell scallops, queso fresco & lime dressing ($21) were covered with plenty of topping which probably made the scallop secondary in the dish. The Empanadas ($17) of slow cooked oxtail were quite good although I would have loved the pastry to be a bit thinner to appreciate the filling more. A favourite for me was the Taro croquettes served with aji de gallina sauce ($15) which were very tasty and cooked with a crunchy shell. The Peruvian style ceviche ($15) was also very good although I would have loved a bit more salsa on top of the dish. The Ropa vieja ($24) seemed pricey but the braised lamb neck had good flavour and tenderness.

I was impressed with the amount of meat in the Langostino ($42) although the vanilla sauce was quite unusual and maybe an acquired taste for some to appreciate including myself. The chocolate sauce in the Pato con chocolate ($36) was noticeable yet subtle enough to still appreciate the duck flavour from the meat. My favourite main was the Bife Ancho 400g ($37) of tender and flavoursome meat helped along with house made condiments for extra taste bud enjoyment. I wasn’t a fan of the Tostones ($8) which I found a bit dry and tasteless although the accompanying Cuban aioli was really nice and actually went well with my potatoes on the steak dish. For dessert I mostly enjoyed the mocha dome in the Café y caramelo ($14) but didn’t really enjoy the salted caramel ice cream and would have preferred just a simple vanilla ice cream instead. The La Lechera ($14) was quite rich in flavours although I found the shape of the chocolate swirl a little disconcerting and unappealing — perhaps a quenelle shape instead. For afters a selection of the bartenders and waiters rum choices were offered. My preferred out of the three sampled was the El Dorado 12 YO ($13) which I found more drinkable over the Diplomatico Reserva ($12) and Havana Club Barrel Proof ($16.50) for my innocent rum palate.

Other visits to La Bodeguita Del Medio: 
• 19 Oct 2011 – Guest review of food and drinks 
16 June 2011 – Mojitos and rum cocktails

PROS: Lively atmosphere, Interesting and cosy décor, Friendly service (Lisa), Live entertainment although makes it quite loud, Extensive rum menu
CONS: It's hard to stop at just one cocktail in this place, Probably best to book ahead for a table as they seem to be quite popular
MUST TRY: Mojito, Blood & Sand cocktail, Taro croquettes, Ropa Vieja, Bife Ancho 400g
Table setting
Mojito ($14), Blood & Sand ($16), Ernest's Breakfast ($17), La Bodeguita Nojito ($6.50)
Clover Club ($16), Nacional ($15)
Mary Pickfair mocktail version: Pineapple juice, Maraschino liqueur served Martini style ($6)
2010 Santa Ines Savignon Blanc, Chile ($8.50), 2009 Altozano Tempranillo Castilla, Spain ($8), 2008 Perez Cruz Reserva Cabernet Maipo Valley, Chile ($12)

Embutidos: A selection of cured meats, arrollado & pickles ($22)
Vieiras Cubanas: Half shell scallops, queso fresco & lime dressing ($21) 
Empanadas de carne con pebre: Slow cooked oxtail with tomato salsa ($17)
Croquetas de malanga - Taro croquettes served with aji de gallina sauce ($15) 
Ceviche del día: Peruvian style ceviche ($15) — would be great if served with something like prawn crackers to put on
Ropa vieja: Tomato & yoghurt braised lamb neck, Cuban rice with black bean vinaigrette ($24)

Langostino: Tropical lobster, baby leeks, watercress & vanilla sauce ($42)
Pato con chocolate: Duck breast, sweet potato & spinach croquants & chocolate sauce ($36)
Sudado de Pescado: Market fish (Blue-eye Trevally), yucca, bugtail and roasted cherry tomatoes (MP) - seasonal scallops included, yucca replaced with potatoes
Tostones: Fried plantains with Cuban aioli ($8)

Bife Ancho 400g: 120-day grain fed dry age rib eye steak served with Rosemary & Garlic roasted potato & house made condiments ($37) 
Café y caramelo: Mocha dome with candied peanuts & salted caramel ice cream ($14) 

La Lechera: A classic ... LBDM style ($14)
El Dorado 12 YO, Guyana ($13)
Diplomatico Reserva, Venezuela ($12) 
Havana Club Barrel Proof, Cuba ($16.50)
Head Chef Danny Parreno (middle) with kitchen team 
Rum Tasting Sets 

Mojito time = Good time
Musicians — pretty loud though for talking over

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La Bodeguita del Medio on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

You don't do things by halves, when you get one of these invites do you?
I can't believe you and your group of friends consume $500 worth of food and alcohol, for a couple of paragraphs of average writing, published 6 months after the event.
These restaurants must be seriously nuts to indulge you in such a manner.

Simon Leong said...

hi anonymous, it's very generous of the restaurant to willingly want to invite me and provide such an experience I know — i feel very privileged. hopefully this has provided you some insight into what the restaurant is like in terms of menu and decor. i wish i had posted this review a lot sooner but unfortunately there's only so much time in the day. i'd be curious to know if you were a restaurant owner yourself or someone that works in the food industry or simply a passionate diner.

joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

I hope the menu is still the same though as the food has me salivating. :-)

Nic@diningwithastud said...

I've heard good things about their booze but now I can see the food looks tres fab also.

Simon Leong said...

hi joey, the menu probably isn't exactly the same as I think they're trying to be seasonal like many other restaurants but i'm sure some things will be an all year around dish.

hi nic, definitely try the mojitos, especially when they have the specials running.

sirandmladylikeluxury said...

Being an avid rum drinker is enough to get me there but the food looks amazing too. Its now on the hit list!

Simon Leong said...

hi sirandmladydineout, they even have private rum lockers for the most avid of rum lovers

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