Bodega Y Tapas
Bodega Y Tapas is an addition to the Esmirada Group’s stable of restaurants serving little bites of food inspired by consultant chef Armin Leitgeb’s travels around the world.
Don’t let the idea of raw beef put you off ordering the beef tartare cone ($14). The meat is really tasty and is layered with horseradish mousse inside a crunchy, buttery filo pastry cone – very moreish.
Chef Armin’s chilli crab mantou bun ($9) is a great idea. This one is for chilli crab lovers who don’t like the mess; the crabmeat has already been taken out of the shell and put in a little pot with the sauce (which was a tad too vinegary for my liking) and it comes with a traditional mantou bun to mop it up.
The house-made chorizo iberico ($12 for 40g) is another winner. So too is the grilled Spanish octopus ($19) served with colourful heirloom tomatoes (that taste like tomatoes) and a flavoursome Austrian pumpkin seed oil. Another dish that’s full of flavour is the ciabatta-wrapped crispy egg ($15). The egg is first steamed, then poached, and comes with thin, crispy ciabatta, prosciutto, spinach and a divine mushroom ragout made with veal stock.
The standout dish, though, has to be the char-grilled Wagyu cubes cooked in hay ($39). The melt-in-the-mouth beef is smoked with hay for 15 to 20 seconds and is accompanied by mushrooms, lettuce and a sauce mignonette. I would have loved a bit of bread to mop up the juices!
The bar is fronted by Klaus, a twenty-something Austrian, who has come up with some creative signature cocktails including P for Passion ($18) – a fruity concoction of vodka, triple sec, fresh passion fruit, lime, cranberry and orange – and the Amber Bowl ($18). Be warned: this one comes in an unnervingly stem-less glass with a glass ball on the base so the glass doesn’t sit flat. Amuse also serves Hugo ($12 glass; $36 jug) – a sparkling wine, elderflower syrup, club soda, fresh mint and lime drink that is apparently taking Europe by storm.
Must-try dish: Char-grilled Wagyu cubes cooked in hay