In Sydney, only about half a dozen places come to mind when opting for Latin American. When you think about it, that’s not a lot considering the region we’re talking about includes about 20 or so countries speaking Spanish, French and Portuguese.
So when Parramatta Leagues Club seizes the opportunity to set the standard out west, this manifests in the vibrance of Pablo’s Cantina Y Cerveza.
The hallway that greets you leads you past the bar and microbrewery, with strategically placed art pieces featuring the strong primary colours associated with the culture. A great open dining room awaits with an outdoor balcony area with booths and casual spaces. Noticeably, the table arrangements are configured for large groups. Perhaps because familism is at the heart of Latin culture – extending beyond the nuclear family, viewing all life events as occasions to gather and celebrate.
The staff set the tone in service providing the warmth, recommendations and comfort in your dining experience. El-Salvador born, Patricia, gives us insight into the fire of that Latina spirit she embodies and what we anticipate in the Pablo’s concept.
The classic Mojito and Margarita transports us to the warmth and sunshine that’s become a stranger to us this Winter.
The mains selections are hard to choose from, and our curiosity in experiencing the flavors of Head Chef Kamal’s menu leads us to a section of tapas.
The Beef Short Ribs and Pork Belly are the main attraction for us as we test the promise of their acclaimed Argentinean style Parilla. Slow cooked over wood charcoal, the fatty belly is buttery in texture, lightly seasoned. The mustard apple reduction and prunes provide a sweetness that brings out the best in the meet ending with that crackle that captivates you as the plate is set on the table. In contrast, the habanero salsa adds a kick to the primal cut of beef. There is just the right amount with slight whiffs of fire from the chill peppers allowing the meat that has absorbed the marrow and juices from the slow cooked to dominate.
The corn cobs are the perfect side dish as you alternate between the sweet heat bites from the pork and beef. It takes the protein to new levels as the bursting kernels release hints of smoked char, paprika, citrus lime and a fresh herb salsa! We take our time, savoring each bite and enjoying the roller coaster of taste Chef Masood & Chef Christine have prepared for us this evening.
The cauliflower has a nice golden scorch from the crisping adding to its already crunchy body. Again that smokey flavor coming through balanced out with the lemon juice in the sumac dressing and black olive in the black mayonnaise.
An excellent choice at one of Parramatta’s destination venues. It’s easy to pictue the open spaces here for a number of group functions and celebrations for lunch and dinner.
Joseph Lloyd, Contributor