Firstly, let me start by saying that if was President of the Universe I’d make all restaurants have lighting that is conducive to taking great photos. Ergo, I blame my rather bad photos on this restaurants dim and moody lighting. Perfect for a date, bad news for a food blogger who doesn't use a DSLR or know how to use photoshop.
Secondly, let me say that I’m so in love with these Meal Deal vouchers that are floating about these days. The voucher that allowed The Boy and I to dine at Boteco in Surry Hills on a wintery Saturday night was such great value that I’m left wondering at how any restaurants can make any money whatsoever out of these deals. I also wondered why a restaurant like Boteco which is fairly new, trendy, serves great food, is in the “right part of town” and was already quite busy on the night we dined need such a incentive to get diners through the door.
Not that I am complaining mind you...just wondering. For $49 The Boy and I enjoy a wonderful dinner of six tapas dishes PLUS a delectable cocktail each. If we were to order all of this food and drink on a “normal night out” it would cost us at least $130. Bargain of the century really.
Boteco, not to be confused to Bodega which is also a Brazilian “small plate” restaurant and bar in Surry Hills, is one of a handful of Brazilian Tapas Style restaurants that has opened up in Sydney. Although in Brazil it is not called Tapas, it is referred to as Petiscos which certainly sounds much more exotic.
We start our meal with a Caipifruta Cocktail each - these are normally about $15 each so already our meal deal is looking like stunning value.
We can basically choose anything from the cocktails menu which has my head swimming with possibilites and a subsequent inability to make a choice. In the end I close my eyes and take a blind stab at the menu and pray I’ve hit on something lovely...which I have. My Jasmin and Lichia is a refreshing mix of Lychees and Jasmine tea. The Boy made his mind up within seconds of being handed the drinks menu. The Banana Caramelada, a sweet concoction of banana and caramel, appealed immediately to his sweet tooth.
Our first share plate is an amazingly fresh Ceviche of Snapper with Tapioca Caviar. The snapper fillets in this dish are lightly marinated in lemon juice, fresh chilli, coriander and big balls of tapioca “caviar” which add an interesting textural element to the dish. A really nice dish to start the evening with.
Next is a plate of Silky Chicken Croquettes with Roasted Red Capsicum Sauce. As the name suggests the croquettes are a silky mix of chicken and leek, crunch on the outside and smooth and soft on the inside.
The Parmesan Rice Balls on Spinach and Chickpeas is my second favourite dish of the evening, probably as I’ve not tasted such buttery, garlicky spinach or chickpeas before. This was a really flavoursome dish that had me wanting me more - who knew spinach and chickpeas could taste so wonderful?
The Boy and I were very pleased to note that all the dishes came with an even number of pieces – making it easy to divide up. This was especially important when it came to the Grilled Portuguese-style Chorizo with Peppers and Chimichurri. This dish was as pretty as a picture, crispy grilled chorizo adorned with a jumble of diced tomato, cucumber and Spanish Onion and a Chimichurri sauce.
The last two plates included in the voucher were a melt-in-the-mouth tender Grilled Grass Fed Picanha (Rump Cap) with Salsa Criolla and a bowl of wonderful crisp and salty Cassava Chips. Cassava is a starchy tuberous root vegetable that seems more suited to “being a chip” than our humble potato does, which is a big call I know. These are the most addictive chips I’ve ever had and every time The Boy looked away I shoved a handful into mouth.
Although we were actually feeling quite full at the end of the meal, I had a list as long as my arm of other dishes I really wanted to try. We agreed we had room for one more small plate...and dessert (of course).
Our waiter recommends we try Pastel, a light cheese filled turnover that is very popular Boteco food in Brazil. The pastry is airy and light and contains just the lightest smattering of stringy, oozy cheese. This would go perfectly with a beer.
And for dessert, we just could not go past the Brownie ($12), not very Brazilian sounding I know, but damn this was good! Served warm and made with 70% cocoa chocolate and homemade ice-cream what could be a better way to end a wonderful night out.
Boteco is at 421 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills (right next door to Sushi Suma).