Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Mi Casa Contemporary Spanish Tapas, Port Macquarie
All right, this is about Port Macquarie. First evening and we decide to venture out to the local market to see how the vibrancy is. Well, Port Macquarie to begin with, impressed me because I have to admit it is the sole place with has so many fine dining eats and restaurants, it’s simply unbelievable. Its simply amazing. I have been across Australia – Cairns, Gold Coast, Tassie, Melbourne, Adelaide. Well if you exclude the bigger cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, etc. I got to admit, I have not seen so many good fine dines option.
In NSW, in particular- I have travelled and stayed at various places- Jervis Bay, Port Stephens, Coffs Harbour, Narooma, or inlands- Dubbo Orange and all- but most places have may be one or two. But PM has so many. Wow! However, if you are in time you get the best. If you aren’t, you might not find food at all. First day we got lucky. Second and third day- we struggled to get dine in at any place since it was 9:00 P.M. the kitchens simply close. Also it was August, but port Macquarie was far too quiet on a Friday and Saturday- and that was until we passed the bars and realized most are away drinking.
However, like most Aussie towns, it sleeps at 8:30 and at 9:00 you may risk either going for pub food or Subways or Macca’s.
On our first night, we check into our luxurious hotel and then after some rest, head out into the town. We look at a number of options, and decided to give a try to a Contemporary Spanish joint called Mi Casa. Situated right at the town center, pime location and its near the water- the place where all the painted stones start. There is an outdoor seating long with heating available, outside the restaurant, more like on the corridor outside. The inside of the restaurant is cozy and to my surprise- all full. Now I am usually skeptical to the concept of Tapas, as I usually find it too less quantity and more expensive. Nonetheless we settle in.
Initially I thought we would probably go for a couple of tapas to taste and then go for a main course each.
One look at the other tables and we realize that this place has a very good serving portion for Tapas. We reconfirm with the waitress and she seconds it. Mentions that two mains for two people might be too much and suggest may be 3-4 starters.
A look at the menu, and looks good value as well. To begin with I order the Sangria. Its pretty good, and much better than the one I had last time- I think at Teatro, Mebourne. Light, slightly sweet and fruity.
In the Tapas, we order the Gambillas Al Ajillo – the prawns. This is basically a prawn tapas, which comes in a bowl with a mild jus. The prawns are unbelievably fresh. And the freshness was wow. And the jus of white wine, along with lemon juice, garlic and the occasional chilli slices. The jus was slightly sweet, slightly tangy and buttery. The strands of shallots and sprouts added to the crunch and freshness. So basically I loved the dish.
Next we ordered the Patatas Brava- which were the crunchy potato wedges, stacked up like a square maze, and had a green chutney of some sorts and a tomato salsa, and some aioli. Ful marks on the presentation. Taste was good, and the fresh jullelines of veggies added the crunch. Liked it. Pretty good.
Next came the Champinones Al Ajillo or the mushrooms. This looked similar to the prawns dish we ordered initially except it was with mushrooms. Dug in and well, the mushrooms were ok. The sauce however, was just ok. While the just with the prawns was great- this one I think was made with sherry and had very different flavor. Its difficult to describe, but this one- I didn’t like. Too similar to the prawns one and the sauce wasn’t too my taste. So a no no from me.
Next came the star of the evening. The Costillas de Cordero. It was the slow cooked lamb ribs. When I was ordering this one, I wasn’t too sure and had double minds- because lamb does have a strong fragrance of its on- of which I am not too much of a fan. So I was debating if it should be the lamb or the chicken. Nonetheless I went for the lamb and boy I am proud of myself. When it came, it just melted my heart and made me fall in love at first sight. The lamb was beautiful looking, caramelised. It was like small rack, and it looked soft and tender, and brown and sticky gooey from the top. It reminded me of the masterchef contest with the barbeques and we had Jessica cook up some wicked sticky and gooey barbeque.
As I dug in, I was amazed with the softness of the lamb. One bite and I knew this was one of the best lamb I was eating. It was caramelised and little crispy on the top. The next layer was simply juicy, wet, and the layers of fat had melted and made it irresistible. It was topped with chives and shallot slices which made it colorful. Served on a bed of yellow rice. The taste was sweet- not too overpowering but lovely. I really enjoyed it and must have. Very very highly recommended.
The portions were good size and were costing on an average $15 – $20. A meal for two – with four tapas and a white and sangria was about $70-$80.
All in all, I would love to visit this place for tapas and it has made my skepticism go away with tapas and I am eager to try out more.
TEL (02) 65 844 559
2 Horton Street Port Macquarie