encasa is an old favourite, a very old favourite. Before we even knew we loved to write about food this place was hallowed ground. I can recount the many times we ate more than what should be possible, drunk all the sangria our bellies could take and came out of it all only $35 lighter. After a long absence we decided to return to encasa for a long overdue feed.
Patatas Bravas – Fried potato w/ garlic mayonnaise and spicy tomato salsa ($9.50).
Patatas bravas. OMG this is THE go-to dish. If we go to a Spanish joint (well, westernised Spanish joint) then the patatas bravas will be ordered. Why? Because who does not love spuds – and deep fried spuds – with a spicy tomato salsa and creamy mayonnaise to make it a dish of perfection.
Sadly this dream was exactly what we did not get on our return to encasa. What we did get was a pre-made plate of stodgy potato cubes, lathered in a mix of tomato paste and mayo. How could we tell they were pre-made? Easy really, we ordered and less than a minute later they arrived. Quite a let down and nothing like the glorious patatas bravas of our previous visits. Bad day maybe?
Gambas al Ajillo – Peeled king prawns in sizzling garlic oil and chilli ($13.50).
The next dish came out a little over five minutes later and then in the space of two minutes we had the next five dishes plonked down on our tiny little table. We didn’t mind the size of table we were seated at but when we were dining at 6pm and the restaurant was pretty empty it seemed odd we would be sat at a small table and then all of our food sent out at once with the wait staff struggling to find room to place it.
Luckily it was the sizzling prawns that came out first, arriving as always spitting oil all over the place and wafting garlic around, it would have been no easy feat to find room for that hot plate a few minutes later. Perfectly cooked and just as they always have been – spicy, tasty and hot. We also ended up with some bread rolls to soak up all that fantastic garlic and chilli oil. A winner.
Vieiras en Azafrán – Scallops in the shell with saffron, shallot and cream sauce ($13.00).
Of all the dishes the scallops were the only new addition to our repertoire, something a little different to break up the familiar. Em’s first question after we ordered was if they would still have the roe attached, to which I replied ‘nah’. Ok I was wrong, the scallops were pretty decent in size and the roe was there too sitting in a pool of cream sauce. They were cooked well but the saffron cream sauce was stuck between being too rich for the scallop and a little weak for the roe for my liking.
Pinchos Morunos – Prime lamb fillet skewers marinated in Moroccan spices ($14.00).
Lamb skewers are ever the crowd pleaser, juicy charred fillets of lamb seasoned with an array of Moroccan spices. Tender and bursting with flavour the skewers were the star of the night for me. Just that good balance of meat and spices on a stick, cooked well and served hot.
Margherita Pizza – Tomato, cheese, basil (Small – $11.50).
Just for variety’s sake we ordered a small Margherita pizza and thankfully it was the perfect size. Cheesy and tomato laced it was a good pizza, one of the better ones of recent times with a thin crust while avoiding being dry and not too much topping to make it overly heavy.
Chorizo a la Sidra – Spanish sausage poached in cider ($11.00).
Switching things up a little we ordered the chorizo poached in cider as opposed to the grilled chorizo we normally order. It probably would have been better had we stayed with the original as the cider poaching meant the dish lost a bit of the magic of pan fried chorizo – that crispy smoked goodness that chorizo is all about.
Tortilla Española – Omelette with potato and onion (2 eggs – $8.50).
Em is a huge fan of potato so Lex and I thought the tortilla with potato would be perfect. What we forgot is she hates eggs, so an omelette was something she’d never eat. Though it would have been avoided had she reminded us of her egg aversion when we were ordering. Oh well, she didn’t miss out on much, it was lacking any kind of flavour. I actually enjoyed the little salad garnish more than the tortilla.
Twenty minutes after placing our order the food had all arrived. Well not all of it as they forgot one of our all-time favourites – the albondigas. But we didn’t bother following it up as it would have been WAY too much food anyway (and it didn’t appear on the bill so no harm done). As we sat there full to the brim we were all thinking the same thing: what a shame. For many years we held encasa in such high esteem but it seems to have lost some of its mojo.
423 Pitt Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9211 4257