Encasa, Pitt St, Sydney

I’ve got to admit I was just a tiny bit skeptical that a place that offered Spanish and pizza and pasta would be authentic. Besides, all the Spanish restaurants are meant to be on Liverpool Street, not down near Chinatown. Anyway, it was a hen’s night and I had no choice.  I’m pleased to report that in addition to the best Chinese food in Sydney, Haymarket (a.k.a Chinatown) also offers exceptional Spanish food.   The restaurant catered really well to large groups - which comprised almost half the place on a busy Saturday night.  We opted for the $32 tapas menu, which included all your favourites (except where was the calamari?) 

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The food came very quickly in succession such that we were clearing room in between quick forkfuls of food.  First off the rank was a salad with crumbled feta, marinated roast capsicum and lettuce.  Then came my favourite off all time – Chorizo a la Plancha (grilled Spanish sausage). Oh dear. Only in looking at this close up shot did I see the fatty bits – but blindly eating, it was DIVINE. Crispy and tasty and plenty of it.

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Next came the Patatas Bravas (fried potato with garlic mayonnaise and spicy tomato salsa). Unfortunately, I had only one cube of potato as that gross white substance had touched every other piece. I was told that they were delicious though, despite my prejudice.  Oh well, bring on the Champinones al Ajillo – garlic mushrooms – and don’t plan on having a pash afterwards.  They were very tasty and moist, and not overcooked either.

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The garlic pizza came, with tomato dressing. Crispy crust and a good thickness, which would indicate that these guys could do a great pizza too.  But my attention quickly diverted to the sevillanas (prawns in spicy tomato). They came bubbling to the table – slightly dangerous, but so so fresh, and a great chilli bite at the end (too spicy for some on my table though).  There were 8 per serve.

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Classic Tortilla Escapnola (omelette with potato and onion) was a perfectly set, moist omelette filled with thinly sliced potato, and onion flavoured with fresh parsley. They did it very well. And I can’t tell you about the Mejillones (black mussels in tomato sauce) because I don’t eat mussels either. But the comments were that they were just perfectly cooked and not rubbery at all.

CIMG3489 (Small).JPG  Alas, (Mary had a little) lamb skewers came next.  Although they looked so flavoursome (marinated in Morcoccan spices), this is not a meat of my preference, and I looked on as my friends commented on their moistness and tenderness and flavour.

I didn’t have to wait long for the pinchos de pollo con mojo (chicken fillet skewers) to come.  They came with an amazing harissa sauce (I think), and the chicken was marinated in amazing herbs and spices (and crispy on the outside but still moist on the inside).  Great with the spicy sauce.  Some bread came at the end in case we weren’t full, but we were well fed CIMG3490 (Small).JPGand content. Only thing I could have added would be maybe something sweet, but we were satisfied with a stop at a nearby gelato stop.  By the way, sangria is $5 per glass, or $20 per jug.  Softdrinks are very reasonably priced here too. And for an extra $5 per person you can have paella with your banquet too.  But you certainly won’t be starving without. 


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