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B: I’ve been meaning to come here for a while, because the first attempt had us waiting till 10.30pm for dinner. With the waiting time that long, it must be good. Bookings are only available for groups of 5-12 and greater, any less and it’s a walk-in system. There are also other special banquet deals for groups of 8 or more including private rooms. These details can be found on their site.

Porteño specialises in Argentinean BBQ while their sister store Bodega does spanish tapas. This place has been awarded Best New Restaurant of 2011 by Sydney Morning Herald, Gourmet Traveller and Time out 2011.

Myself and three friends decided to dine here mid-week and luckily got a table. Gardel’s Bar located upstairs was where my friends and I waited until the rest of the group arrived.

We started off with Pan De Casa – Home bread with olive oil and pork pate ($2 per person).

Calamares Asados – BBQ calamari with chickpeñas sofrito, preserved lemon and watercress ($26). Beautiful flavours with tenderly cooked calamari.

Atún Con Okra Y Jalopeño – griled Tuna with okra and charred jalopeño & garlic dressing ($26). This tuna was cooked to perfection. It just melted in our mouths. It’s a shame that the dish only came with a few pieces.

Cordero A La Cruz – 8 hour wood fire lamb ($46). It was a battle deciding between the lamb and the pork. According to the waiter’s word, both are equally good. The lamb was absolutely delicious. It was moist, juicy and the smokiness just makes you salivate uncontrollably.

Repollitos De Brusela Frito – Crispy fried brussels sprouts with lentils & mint ($14). Who knew brussels spouts could taste this good! It was crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. These little green balls were coated in a beautiful rich juice. Definitely try this dish.

Pollito – Free Range Baby Chicken ($28). Nothing too special about this dish but just cooked perfectly.

We ordered Polents Con Provolone – polenta with provolone cheese ($14) but unfortunately this dish didn’t arrived on our table. I mentioned it to the waiter at the end and knocked off $14 from the bill. Such a shame, I was looking forward to this one.

With the dessert menu only consisting of four desserts, I think it was obvious we had to order all of them!

Leche Quemada – Burnt milk custard with cumquat marmalade & chocolate ice cream ($16). The burnt milk custard and chocolate ice cream was smooth and sweet. The cumquat gave it a boost of acidity but the popcorn kind of turned me off. This dish needed some texture, but instead was stale and just got stuck in our teeth.

Tarte De Queso Azul – Baked pear and gorgonzola tart with muscat ice cream ($16). This tart looked stunning with the dark pastry, glossy pears and a beautifully pipped cream on top however it was probably my least favourite. If you have a good palette for funkiness, this would be the dish for you.

Postre Chajá – South American style Pavlova with peanuts ($16). This dessert looked very boring with barely any colour, but once you take a bite out of this little number that’s when the magic happens. Wonderful textures and flavours, and there seems to be banana in it which just worked so well.

The fourth dessert was unavailable so we had an alternative of rice pudding, strawberry compote, shortbread with yoghurt gelato ($16). Not to be harsh, but it was an average dessert. Pleasant to eat, but not something that I would get out of my way for.

Overall, it was an enjoyable dining experience. Not something I’ll come back to on a regular basis because it was a bit pricey. If you’re not too keen on sharing, be prepared to be hit with a fat bill at the end.

Porteño on Urbanspoon
358 Cleveland St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010

(02) 8399 1440

Operating Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm

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