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Posted June 6, 2012 by Jennifer Lam (Jenius) in Occasion
 
 

Porteno, Surry Hills

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Oopsy, I can’t believe it’s been over a week since my last blog post already! I have a good excuse though… I’ve been down with the flu… And I’ve moved!

Yes, again.

I’m sad to be departing from all the wonderful eats within Surry Hills but I’m thrilled to be back in the spacious surrounds of Rozelle. We haven’t found the right place to buy yet so when a pet-friendly terrace popped up on the rental market, I was quick to snap it up!

This new place means I can have back my second bedroom walk-in wardrobe room. I can start entertaining again as our large dining table now has room to breathe. I can use the coffee table (which was packed up in storage for the last 7 months). I can get back into baking.

(P.S. Having such an organised kitchen made transferring things such a bliss!)

One of our last meals in Surry Hills as locals was at Porteno. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten their suckling pig. And brussel sprouts.

I still pinch myself every time I walk from home to an eatery like Porteno. How lucky am I to have lived in walking distance to such great food?

Porteno, Surry Hills - pate, olive oil, sauces for meats and bread

We start with house baked bread with olive oil and pork pate, an absolutely irresistible order as it’s just $2 per person.

Then for starters, we have the spiced eggplant (berenjenas picante, $8) which is delicious with a real depth of flavour. The empanadas are also must-haves. We share the broccoli and ricotta combination ($6.50) as well as the beef ($6.50) variation. The crust on both is perfectly crispy and indulgent. The spices in the beef empanada are well balanced and so divine. Meanwhile, the broccoli one is lush and wholesome; the Porteno kitchen has a way with making vegetables taste out-of-this-world!

Porteno, Surry Hills - empandas, eggplant starter

Onto main course, there’s only ever one thing on my mind, and that is the 8 hour woodfired suckling pig (chanchito a la cruz, $44).

Porteno, Surry Hills - suckling pig and crackling with sides

The suckling pig naturally forms the base of our epic feast. The tiles of crackling offers a deep satisfying crunch which goes hand in hand with the ridiculously juicy layers of succulent meat. Each piece of meat is alternately smeared with the housemade chimichurri and criolla, an onion and capsicum salsa.

Porteno, Surry Hills - close up of pork crackling

And what better to complement the suckling pig than the shaved fennel salad (ensalada de hinojo, $14) and the crispy fried brussel sprouts (repollitos de brusela frito, $14)?

I love how the acidity of the fruit and Amontillado dressing plays on the saltiness of the olives. It takes shaved fennel onto a whole other level.

The brussel sprouts (and wood fired meats) are what Porteno have become famous for, and rightly so! These are tossed with lentils and mint and seriously, brussel sprouts have never been more sumptuous!

Porteno, Surry Hills - fennel salad and the best brussel sprouts ever

Although by this stage, we’re now on the verge of bursting, I manage to talk Zen into sharing a dessert.

The sheer size of our South American style pavlova with peanuts (postre chaja, $16) confirms that it is made to be shared. It’s a sandwich of sponge cake layers with salted peanut caramel, custard and poached pears, topped with crumbled meringue. Amazing.

Porteno, Surry Hills - Argentenian version of pavlova

And now, I’ll leave you with a photo of their asado (wood fire pit) which is almost empty by the time I leave the restaurant (around 9pm).

Get there fast, and get there quick.

Pssst – I highly recommend you getting a group of 5 so you can book a table. Unless you’re prepared to eat early like I did. (They open at 6pm)

Porteno, Surry Hills - fire pit
Porteno’s asado (woodfire pit) which roasts the suckling pig and lamb

Oh, happy days!


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Porteno
358 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, NSW
Phone: (02) 8399 1440
Web: porteno.com.au

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Jennifer Lam (Jenius)

 
Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Having grown up in a family where food was always at the centre of all celebrations, family events and milestones, Jen is obsessed with capturing irresistible flavours and stories from myriad cultures. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering people to have good food and invigorating adventures - because life is too short for mediocre meals or dull travel. Her hobbies are breakfast, lunch and dinner. She's globally curious, passionate about female entrepreneurship, is a soy chai latte fanatic, and loves vintage, dressmaking and photography.