As part of my continuing involvement with Mushroom Mania, I'm out and about, "foraging" for mushroom dishes in a number of Sydney restaurants.
Tonight I'm exploring the tapas specialties of Cru 54 Kitchen and Bar located in the funky, eclectic suburb of Surry Hills.
I first sampled "real" tapas on a trip to Spain, back when I used to sport a "caesar" haircut!
I fell in love with the individual bites and the casualness of the whole setting.
The Spaniards certainly know how to eat! I'd see people drop in to their local tapas bar for a snack and a drink, before heading home to organise their nocturnal dining plans.
The menu at Cru 54 is very reminiscent and true to the Spanish tapas bar offerings, with a few interesting "twists" thrown in for good measure.
The chorizo arrives all perfectly grilled. My mouth is watering. Paprika, garlic and porky goodness make this a perfect start to my evening.
I think it's fair to say that if you're in a Spanish restaurant that you must eat chorizo. It's almost like going to a Greek restaurant and not eating fetta!
I'm accompanying my tapas offerings with an Argentinian Bonarda-a wine which I'm not familiar with. Tasting it, I'd say it's very similar to that other Argentinian favourite-Malbec.
Apart from the chorizo, Cru 54 offers a whole selection of cured meats and cheeses, including the famous Jamon Serrano and queso Manchego.
If mushrooms are indeed "magic" then these two next dishes sum up why.
I've opted for the mushrooms cooked in garlic and sherry. The taste buds go into overdrive as they detect, parsley, cumin and a touch of chilli as well. I've never thought of cooking mushrooms with cumin but I find this combination of earthy flavours, strangely addictive.
The accompanying bread is put into good use, mopping up all the saucy goodness.
Swiss Brown mushroom
dish is served individually. The
Manchego and Jamon filling
lend the right amount of creaminess and saltiness for this phenomenal funghi.
The most interesting part of the Cru 54 menu is their "mains" section. Think larger meals, divided into portions for everyone to share.
A glance at the menu reveals a pork belly dish with crackling, (oh yes!) marmalade, braised red cabbage and aioli. Or How about the lamb skewers with lemon, rosemary and chimichurri salsa?
I'm taking a break from the cordero tonight and have opted for the slowly braised beef cheeks.
I love how the beef cheek is cut into four pieces for everyone to share and have a portion. But I can tell you there is no sharing tonight!
The beef cheeks come served with a layer of creamy, cauliflower puree and are succulently moist with the Pedro Ximenez sauce providing the perfect richness.
My winter cravings are very much satisfied.
To end my Spanish fiesta I've gone with the much loved churros. Sugared donuts, chocolate sauce and Pedro Ximebez ice cream form the basis of a very Spanish Holy Trinity.
The oozing chocolate complements the sugary cooked dough but its the ice cream that has me wanting to go home and make it immediately! Apart from Mr Ximenez, there is a subtle taste of lemon and a slight hint of this blogger's favourite-cinnamon. I see a new ice cream flavour coming to the Souvlaki for the Soul kitchen this summer.
After three hours of sampling little bits of Spain in Sydney, my belly is full. I'm ready for a break before my next adventure...
Adios y muchas gracias amigos!
This restaurant was reviewed as part of Mushroom Mania month which is happening all across Australia during July 2012. Souvlaki For The Soul dined at Cru 54 with compliments of the Australian Mushroom Growers Association.