Emmilou (Lounge & Tapas Bar) is Chris Cranswick-Smith’s tapas bar and lounge. I heard about it back in 2009 when a colleagues’ brother began to import Argentinian wine. Emmilou was one of the restaurants buying their wines. I’d heard good things.
Yet another ‘on the list’ restaurant that we’d simply never got to. As we book the majority of our dinner reservations online these days we received an offer from Dimmi of a $50 voucher at a restaurant of our choice (out of 40 odd restaurants in the Sydney metro area). The choice was simple. After a very long time, we finally made it to Emmilou.
Restaurant manager Ryan greeted us and introduced himself. A friendly and welcoming host who makes you feel like a long lost friend. He’s more than happy to chat through the menu and provide recommendations on how much to order ensuring we have a nice mix of light and heavy dishes.
VIERAS – Seared Scallops with Pea Puree and Tomato & Capsicum Salsa ($13.00).
Scallops had to make an appearance during the evening. Presented in the half shell they were looking mighty fine, contrasting the bright green pea and touch of red capsicum salsa on top. Pleasingly the scallops were cooked nicely and tasted beautiful with a zingy freshness of the peas adding body.
FLORES – Zucchini Flowers w Goats Cheese & Truffle Honey ($16.00).
Ryan talked us in to ordering the zucchini flowers. I was hesitant at first as these days every man and his dog seems to have them on their menu, but not everyone does them well. However Ryan assured me we would not regret them.
Initially it was the sweet honey that showed its colours but then the truffle poked its head in. As I dug in to the zucchini flower itself I was greeted with a beautiful batter – a light, thin, non-oily rice flour tempura batter. Stuffed with goat’s cheese, the sharpness of which goes so well with honey and truffle, and a little ricotta for overall balance. Every element was working hard and I’ve got to say, these were some of the best zucchini flowers I’ve had in a long time.
CROQUE SEÑOR – Toasted Little Sandwiches of Jamon Serrano with Manchego Cheese and Onion Purée ($10.00).
Next up were little ham and cheese toasties. And when you use jamon serrano and manchego your little toastie becomes a beautiful thing. I was hoping there would be more jamon enclosed between the slices of bread but we did have more jamon featuring in our meal to fulfil my jamon craving.
CHORIZO A LA PARILLA – Grilled Chorizo with Pedro Ximinez & Picon Sauce ($14.50).
The chorizo was cooked really well with wonderfully charred edges ensuring the sausage was never too oily and the paprika combined with hints of chilli rounded it out nicely. The picon sauce brought a nice kick of heat that fell away to a smooth capsicum flavour.
PATATAS BRAVAS – Triple Cooked Potatoes Served w Rich Tomato Sauce and Aioli ($14.00).
You simply cannot have tapas without patatas bravas. But when a huge bowl of potatoes arrived at the table I realised we had ordered too much food. A generous portion of potatoes and refreshing take on the classic. Triple cooked new potatoes were light and fluffy. A rich tomato sauce and light aioli completed them. It may have been a large serve but I couldn’t stop eating them.
CHULETON – Grilled T-Bone Steak with Potato & Jamon Gratin and Manchego Cheese Sauce ($38.00 or $22.00 on Thursdays).
‘T-Bone and Temps Thursdays.’ That’s $22 T-Bone Thursdays. Who can say no? Definitely not me. Out it came in all its juicy glory with a knife stuck in the steak. How’s that for presentation. Hells yes! Charred outer was incredibly awesome and the pink juicy centre completely brilliant. Dylan’s never been a fan of t-bone but he had to admit this was a pretty tasty steak.
Then there was the sides of potato and jamon gratin and a manchego cheese sauce. Both were totally moreish and the perfect indulgent accompaniments for the terrific t-bone.
CHURROS – Churros Served w Warm Chocolate Sauce and Salted Caramel Sauce (Complimentary).
Ryan twisted our (rubber) arms and next thing we knew a plate of piping hot churros was in front of us. I was expecting the dipping sauces to be warm but surprisingly they were cold. On first taste (without any churros) the chocolate reminded me of Yogo, but combined with the churros it was a good dark chocolate sauce. Salted caramel was nice and salty (I love seeing chefs who actually ‘get’ salted caramel) and a nice pairing with the sweet donuts.
We were beyond stuffed by the end. Really well priced food and wine. Sensational mid-week offers. Amazing service.
413 Bourke Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9360 6991