Monday, March 17, 2014

Bravas Tapas

It's been a very long time since I last posted, not because I haven't dined since then (because that would be ridiculous for me), but rather because I still feel that I am a predominantly Melbourne-based food blogger regardless of the fact I haven't been there for months.

Still, the combination of a brand new restaurant, interesting food and dinner alone was irresistible to this food blogger.

Bravas Tapas
Wandering around a relatively quiet St Katharine Docks early on a Tuesday night in search of dinner, I stopped outside a cozy looking restaurant with a short menu displayed outside. Filled with interesting tapas dishes, it was as good of an bet as any.

Bravas Tapas
I had no idea I'd stumbled into a restaurant that was in its first week of business. A soft launch is an opportunity for new establishments to work out any kinks, and kinks there were, but I find the behind-the-scenes workings of a restaurant so much more interesting than a perfectly oiled machine. Unless I'm paying hundreds of dollars for a meal, in which case, a perfectly oiled machine is essential. Rapid fire Spanish and English was used to co-ordinate the service (with a minor bit of bickering to keep things interesting) but overall things went smoothly. 

Bravas Tapas
After been seated by the friendly hostess at the bar, I was left to peruse the menu. Feeling a little bit decadent, I ordered three small dishes for myself, which ended up being a pretty good amount of food. The wait for food was fairly reasonable (and I was entertained by watching chefs work which helped pass the time).

Also, I had these utensils:

Tapas Utensils
Anyone know how I was supposedly to use the tongs? I gave it a shot for a while, then gave up when it was too hard to work with those tiny points. Actually moving onto the food however.

Oyster Fritura
First up, oysters with sherry, wild spinach and toasted almonds. While I'm usually a raw-oysters kind-of girl, this dish a nice deviation from the usual cooked oysters options on offer. The spinach and almonds were a surprisingly good complement to fleshy texture and delicate taste of the oysters, however I found the sauce overpowering and ended up scraping as much of it off as possible.

Next up, this beautifully presented salmon dish.
Fresh Salmon Rulada
A salmon roll is often elegant and this one was no exception. Slices of high-quality smoked salmon wrapped around shoestring sweet potato fries. Can you imagine the textural contrast? The silky salmon was offset by the crunch of super-thin fries and I'm amazing that I'd never encountered this combination before. Inventive and impressive.

Braised Beef Short Rib
I was somewhat underwhelmed by the final dish. The braised beef short rib was a little tougher than I had expected, and more of the beautifully flavoured, slightly sweet, Pedro Ximenez (a Spanish sherry) would have been welcome. I would have appreciated more bite in the garlic mash as well, although it seems petulant to complain about a mash being too smooth.

Overall, Bravas Tapas looks like it has great things coming. The menu is interesting, innovative and inspiring and what I thought to be reasonably priced. The quality of the dishes is very high overall, but there are some kinks in both the food and the service that I hope are worked out by the time they've officially launched. The atmosphere is at once cozy and romantic, and I'm looking forward to visiting again to see if Bravas is as good as it promises to be in a few months.

Bravas Tapas
St Katharine Docks, London, E1W 1AT

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