Despite having a lot of empty tables, this restaurant was flustered by us arriving eighteen minutes before our scheduled booking time. Rather than seating us at another table and revising their seating plan, they left our party of three hovering awkwardly in the doorway. When eventually we were seated, our drink order of two cocktails and a juice required reconfirming. It was a shaky beginning...
Things improved when I saw a Corpse Reviver Number 2 ($15) on the menu. It’s rare - even on Sydney cocktail lists - but makes a perfect palate cleanser. The combination of gin, Lillet blanc, Cointreau, lemon juice and an absinthe wash really help to wash away the taste of the day. A slightly too heavy hand with the absinthe throws it out of balance here, meaning we're left preferring the Lucifer’s Old Fashioned ($15) made on Maker’s Mark bourbon whiskey.
Rather than a Spanish tapas menu, the dishes on this menu seem to be loosely united by them all having tapas-style presentation. They run from Asian-style sticky pork belly, to Tex-Mex chimichangas, to something called Killer Fried Chicken ($14). The latter presents crunchy chicken strips on a sauce duo they claim is house-made barbeque on aioli – though it bears strong resemblance to tomato sauce. Perhaps it's just one to please the kids?
Trio Perfecto ($16.50) dumps a sloppy mix of squid, scallop, prawns and fennel cooked in a sweet sherry sauce onto undressed rocket leaves. It’s muddy and lacks the textural interest you’d expect from fresh seafood.
Mexican Chorizo Sliders ($16/2) take chorizo, turn it into patties with a blend of Mexican spices, then teams them with garlic prawns on sweet buns. It’s rounded out with cheese, slices of tomato and paprika mayo. It’s an unusual but tasty blend of ingredients I’ve not seen presented this way before.
Tempura Mushrooms ($8) lose button mushrooms inside acres of dense batter, and present them with a soy dipping sauce that lacks subtlety.
Despite following the suggestion of wait staff to order four tapas style plates for three people, we end the meal hungry. That's even with us throwing in an additional Rocket Salad ($10) that takes apple, shaved Parmesan and a mountain of rocket, and treats it in olive oil and lemon juice. However with nothing on the menu inclining us to stay any longer, we supplement this meal with a pizza at Bella Bellissimo next door.
4/58 Wharf Street, Forster
Ph: (02) 6557 2702