Bodega Tapas Bar

Posted: March 29, 2012 in Food
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Bodega Tapas Bar, Surry Hills

By Spitting: Optional


So, something a bit different this time, I’m reviewing the entire food and wine experience at a restaurant called Bodega, a Tapas bar on Commonwealth Street in Surry Hills Sydney. Before I start I would like to apologise to my Sydney friends, yes I was in Sydney last weekend but it was a very short visit, less than 26 hours.

Having dined at Porteno, Bodega’s sister restaurant, last year we were keen to try Bodega, so much so that we thought we’d get there early to guarantee a seat. Apparently 7 o’clock in the evening is not early enough and the place was packed! We returned half an hour later after receiving a call to say a seat was ready for us. Once inside we were greeted by that harmonious hum of diners enjoying their meals and each others company, sizzling pans and the crack of beads against a hanging gourd, the notification that a dish was ready to be served.

We were told we had the best seats in the house, which I admit they were. Seated at the bar we were looking into the kitchen watching the chef’s show off their amazing finesse.

To start with I ordered a very good Fino Sherry (score below), Fino Sherry is made from the Palomino grape. It is made by aging in a barrel that is not quite full normally a wine would oxidize from this however for Fino Sherry a yeast called Flor yeast is added and forms a crust over the wine after all the sugar has been fermented from the juice. Flor yeast can then kick into another metabolic phase in which they use alcohol and oxygen to form a crust and produce Acetaldehyde. Mmm, crusty yeast. My partner Brittany had a Verdejo, or Verdelho as we know it in Australia,from Rueda, Spain.

The sherry went perfectly with the first two dishes, spiced calamari with aioli, perfectly cooked, and mushrooms in garlic sauce. The calamari set expectations high; the paprika/seafood combination was interesting and, to my surprise, complimented the dish excellently.

The food came out quickly which was to be expected when watching how efficient the chefs’ were. Next to arrive were the steamed buns stuffed with spiced, pulled pork, pickled carrots and miso mayonnaise. These little suckers were packed full of flavour, coconut, spice and miso. The flavour interactions were great. Alongside the pork we had slow cooked lamb ribs with salsa verde on an eggplant purée. The ribs were light and full of fresh flavours, not what I was expecting, which was rich, sticky ribs it was a refreshing style of a dish that can be quite heavy and fatty.

With these two dishes a Rioja Crianza, I’m fairly certain it was predominantly Tempranillo, was enjoyed. Crianza means that it cannot be release for sale until it is at least three years old and that it has spent at least six months on oak. The spice of this wine went really well with the pork and the tannin structure matched the lamb ribs perfectly.

To finish Brittany had White-chocolate and macadamia cookies with vanilla bean ice-cream and crushed aero bar. From all accounts it was delicious. I’m more of a dessert wine man than a dessert man so I went for the 30 year old Pedro Ximenez. I’ll let you in on a secret, if you ever offend me, anger me, cut me off in traffic or get on my wrong side all will be forgiven if you buy me a bottle of Pedro Ximenez. Pedro Ximenez is a white grape grown for its ability to produce high concentrations of sugar. When left to wither in the sun (which removes even more water and leaves only sweet, sweet goodness) and fortified it produces a rich wine with terrific aging potential. It is often used for sweetening Sherry.

Overall the food was incredibly enjoyable and very reasonably priced. I would go back there in a heartbeat. Great staff and delicious food. The wine was great; I love a restaurant that caters for my love of international wines.

Tasting notes: Now for the tasting notes, hastily jotted down on the night.

Teo Pepe Extra Dry Fino: Very pale in colour, aldehydic nose with great citrus and almond characters on the palate and a lingering acid. A very good Fino Sherry: Score 18.5/20

Ramon Bilbao Crianza: Oaky nose with underlying cherry characters. The cherry characters open up on the palate supported by rich spice: Score 17/20

Noe Pedro Ximenez 30 year old: Inky colour. Coffee and caramel on the nose. Youthful muscat fruit on the palate, coffee, cinnamon, lingering spice. A smooth finish. Score 19/20.

Overall experience: 19/20 Great stuff guys!

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on

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Jack Davis

Spitting: Optional

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