Thursday, January 22, 2009

Something a little different

I'm finding it amusing how parts of life influence each other. I'm a firm believer in the whole 'when a door closes a window opens' theory but also view it all as a zero sum game; that is, add to one area of life at the expense of another - there are limited resources afterall. But the interesting thing is how a mood or attitude in one area can influence or alter a completely separate part. In this, I guess it has to come down to frame of mind. For example, I'm currently on the hunt for something new and possibly completely different in one area of life and I found that this translated into (or influenced) restaurant choice for a night.

I think it's healthy to get out of one's comfort zone every now and then, and new experiences usually lead to new knowledge or skills or people or something - and that's generally a good thing. Back on track, tonight we steer away from our favourite Spanish restaurant in the city and try one in 'the Spanish quarter' that I haven't been to before. Honestly, none of the ones I have tried match our fave but I'm willing to give Miro Tapas Bar a try for the trophy.

I do love an underground vibe, as if it's a secret meeting place. We're seated in a booth in the rather dim side room and left to ponder the vibrantly curly red painted walls and menu. To me sangria is a given when in a Spanish restaurant and I quite like Miro's version that lists vermouth as its spirit addition. There's chopped nectarine floating about and just the right amount of kick for my liking, a little too much for another drinker's preference. I much dislike a watery sangria - probably more than I dislike the carton version that I experienced in Barcelona.

Ordering tapas is a fast and frenzied process that I decide to sit out. I'm open to most anything on the menu but morcilla (Spanish blood sausage) so I leave the heavy decision making to the others, requesting only a salad to share. It's not long before the order is in and the first tapa arrives. (Apologies in advance for the fuzzy photos as it was rather dark in the restaurant.)

Albondigas en Salsa (meatballs in sauce) from
Miro Tapas Bar (Liverpool St, Sydney)

Spanish meatballs are notoriously filling in my experience and these oversized golf balls of meat are no exception. A little on the spongey, floury side, they're moderately tasty in a tomato sauce that's made for dipping our crusty bread rolls. Comfort food indeed.

Gambas al Ajillo (garlic prawns)

I would love to comment on the taste of the prawns except that I didn't actually taste the prawns (ahem, girls?). They looked great and came to the table sizzling in hot oil. The oil was heavily populated with slivers of garlic and took on lots of the sweet flavour, making for another ideal bread dipper.

Ensalada Mixta (garden salad)

The salad is big and bold, with lots of curly lettuce and other mixed leaves, savoury green olives, tomato, Spanish onion, carrot and capsicum. I'm positive there was a dressing on it, the flavour of which I don't recall at all; subtle to say the least.

Other Spanish-restaurant-staples on our order were patatas bravas and champinones al ajillo: the former being crispy deep-fried cubes of potato topped with an unusually, but delightfully warming, spicy tomato paste-like salsa and aioli; and the latter being button mushrooms in more garlic and oil. Making a late grand entrance to the fiesta was the tapa of the night.

Pollo a la Plancha (BBQ chicken with paprika salsa)

With its freshly grilled aroma, el pollo was always going to be popular anyway. Two large and quite thick chicken thigh fillets sat charred beneath a zig zag of paprika salsa. The meat was succulent and sweet, and the salsa mild to a point of near non-existance, but appreciated nonetheless.

At this point satiation is upon us all and it's a good several minutes and glasses of water before we request to see dessert options. This year I'm trying this 'not overeating' thing (I'm told it's a much healthier way of life) but can not pass on the opportunity to have churros. In my defence I play the 'sharing' card and some hot drinks to wash it down.

Churros with dulce de leche and chocolate

They come as two long 'lady fingers', which I halve for the aforementioned sharing, and snowed with icing sugar. The dulce de leche (caramel) is a new serving condiment for me and doesn't so much dip as requires spreading on the churros. Thrown in the 'too hard' basket for me at this stage of the meal, I dip my crunchy-nearing-hard churros in chocolatey goodness, taking care not to drip said goodness on myself.

I think a shared dessert is always good way to end a meal less guiltily and so we leave Miro - a valiant attempt but no place at the podium, unfortunately.

Miro Tapas Bar on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

.miss jay. said...

Hi FBS, I'm just wondering why you voted that you dont like this tapas place? I cant work it out from your review. Thanks,

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