2 years ago we travelled to Argentina and it has been a culinary highlight for us, in particular their amazing proteins and thus Asado became a favourite of ours. This is where the meats are cooked on the Asado or Parilla grill (meat mounted on a rack, cooked over an open flame) by the Asador (BBQ Chef/meat master) and this stuff is next level.
One of the best places in Sydney to get an Argentinian fix is at Porteno. We had been there many many years ago at their original site, but they’ve since moved to a prime spot where MoVida once was in Surry Hills. When the opportunity came up to dine with our foodie friend wheredoieatoete; we were there in a heartbeat.
The interiors remind us of Don Julio and La Cabrera in Argentina. Dark hues, dim lighting, tiled floors and styled with Argentinian paraphernalia such as soccer flags and film posters. Large tables, we are sat at a round table with a “lazy Susan” to spin the food to our dining party. We love that our table overlooked the open part of the kitchen, specifically the open flame of the grill. We watch the chefs cook up the meat and slice the fresh focaccia.
Our dining party is mostly a bunch of meat loving blokes and thus they order a wide range of items to share. We skip the picada in favour of the larger dishes.
From the entree list, we begin with the “Faina de Coliflor” or Woodfired Cauliflower & Chickpea Pancake, which was lovely and soft, topped with Goats Cheese, Rosemary Honey and greens. Light and super tasty.
Followed up with the “Calamares Asado”, which saw us enjoy their beautifully cooked Grilled SA Calamari, served with Zucchini, White Beans, Pepita Mole. We enjoyed this dish and ordered two servings. Their beef tartare was also a quality dish, Well flavoured and generous on size.
From the mains list, we opt for two servings of the “Chuleta” or 600g Dry Aged Rib Eye with Jerusalem Artichoke Chips & Chimichurri. We order one medium and the other rare. This was some quality meat served to our selections. Not anywhere as cheap as Argentina and although we like the meat more over there, it’s good quality.
To accompany this, we order the “Repollitos de brusela” or crispy brussel sprouts, which had everyone drooling and the serving with its amazing Lentil, Mint and Mustard Dressing.
With this we also share the creamy “Pure de papa” Mashed Potato.
This was a sufficient amount of food, especially with some of their incredible fluffy focaccia, which we could easily eat a whole loaf of it.
At this kind of restaurant, you cannot go past dessert. Argentinian food, with its dulce de leche, flans and afajores, sure make some good sweet dishes. The “Flan mixto” is a must order; an amazing Milk Flan served with Dulce de Leche and Cream reminds us of all the sweets we tried overseas. In addition, Porteno’s take on an Alfajor with their “Oreo de membrillo” is a Quince Oreo biscuit (large in size), filled with Cardamom Gelato, a good take on the original version.
The wine list is extensive; with over 300 types and we share a bottle of Malbec which complements the meat well. However they do also have cocktails and these were the star of the evening. The banana infused Jack Daniels whisky was one of best Old Fashioned’s that we’ve had. We’d return for this alone.
The restaurant had a great ambiance, this was created by a bunch of happy diners. The Service was impeccable, with staff operating as those in a fine dining restaurant do. They are also wearing masks so are in tune with the Covid measures.
Whilst it’s not cheap, it’s certainly a restaurant to put on your must visit list.
50 Holt St