Los Bravos, in William Street, is my go to place for good food – Spanish themed tapas – and wine – an eclectic selection that changes regularly, and with an emphasis on Spanish varieties. It is one of the standouts of Northbridge.
The long bench at the front is a great spot for watching Northbridge pass by, while around the side, with spectacular murals looking over, is an outdoor dining and drinking area, with herb and citrus garden, while inside the bar, booths and tables and chairs with eye catching Spanish tiles perfectly capture the theme. As does the music with its salute to bouncy Spanish surf tunes.
A glass of chilled sherry is always a great way to start your visit – fino or manzanilla is, I reckon, an absolute ripper for getting the tastebuds flowing, and is perfectly in-tune with the Spanish delights on offer.
In recent weeks, as well as the splendidly prepared tapas, have been added “tins” – cans of Spanish anchovies, sardines, mussels served with toasted bread for a simple and inexpensive meal – during “tin time’ happy hours these can be ordered, with a house beer or wine – these latter are great value at $5.
The mussels in Galician sauce was a good kick start to my meal – spicy and juicy mussels in oil – be careful not to spill it everywhere as I managed – sopped up with toasted crusty bread.
On almost every visit I have had salted Spanish Mackerel – for me, their signature dish – and I did again – succulent cured fish served with cracked almonds, citrus and oil, it is outstanding.
In fact everything “fishy” is done so well here – pickled whiting with a sprinkle of chopped chilli – salty, vinegary and zesty – another beauty.
Another typically Spanish dish, manchego croquettes are a must – crisply fried with a crunchy skin and an oozy, juicy filling.
I could go on about the food I have had on previous visits – char grilled fish, cuttlefish with pickled chilli, and the seasonal padron peppers – these are excellent – roasted peppers that vary between pleasantly mild and eye wateringly hot – it is sort of Spanish roulette as you bite into them, never knowing just what you will get!
This time, I finished with a little imported cheese – valdeón – served with bread and honey – a perfect ending.
With my food, and after the sherry starter, a bottle from Castille in Spain – 20,000 Leguas – this is a field blend of mostly chardonnay, fermented on the skin producing a coppery orange hue, and a bouquet of tropical fruit with some nuttiness; the slippery palate shows flavours of Granny Smith apples, dried orange rind and cashews. It was a perfect companion to the food.
The cheese seemed to call for a glass of something sticky and what better than the interestingly named The Thing – made from Muscat of Alexandria in Segovia, Spain, it is amber and cloudy with honeyed apricot aromas; the palate is what really grabs you – luscious fruit on the front palate, morphs into bitter orange, almost sour notes, before ending with a sherbet like tingle. Quite different from anything I have tried.
Los Bravos kicked off in great style when it opened late last year and it has continued on this path – the food is fantastic, the wine selection excellent, the staff uniformly exceptional – talented, friendly, helpful – you get the picture – it is a must, I think. I will be back very soon, I am sure!