(above image from Añada website)
Last Friday night, my girlfriends and I decided to celebrate it being Friday by trying Añada, a terrific tapas-style restaurant on Gertrude st between Brunswick and Smith. I’m a great fan of tapas – I love sitting down with a spread of different things to try – and was definitely not disappointed with the fairly tradition fare served at Añada.
Having run a block to avoid the rain (why is it raining during Melbourne’s Summer I ask you?), I was greeted cheerily by a waitress and shown to the communal table at the back of the tiny restaurant. Añada has varied selection of seating options: with tradition seating at the front, little stool-type tables running opposite the bar, and the communal-style table at the back, the dining experience may vary upon your location. Given the size of the communal table, however, I was happy to share it with the young family of 3 sitting opposite us.
Being a Friday, I immediately ordered a bottle of rosé on arrival – a 2007 Muga Rosado, Garnacha/Tempranillo/Viura from Rioja, Spain ($38 a bottle) while I read the menu. In customary form, the menu is divided into small Tapas dishes (a bite or two each), and larger Raciones. I’m always keen to get the opinon of those serving the food, and so the waitress recommended the chorizitos ($2.00 each) and the charcoal grilled quail with freekeh and pomegranate ($6.50 each).
R ordered the a single serve of the chorizitos, as she is not a fan of seafood and we were keen to order some. A simple, traditional tapas dish, it relied heavily on the quality of the chorizito sausage. A tiny portion yes, but that’s what tapas is all about!
We shared 2 servings of the quail – beautifully smokey in flavour, it worked well with the sweet, crunchy pomegranate seeds.
Having never tried lambs brain, I was keen to try the crumbed lambs brain with pork belly red lentils ($4.50 each), much to the distaste of my guests.
I was delighted to find it soft and silky like tofu. The crispy crumb batter added good crunch, while the pork belly lentils packed some serious flavour – I just had to drown out those thoughts of “YOU’RE EATING A BRAIN”…
For the larger Raciones, our waitress recommended the vine-wrapped king fish (16.50), the slow roasted beef cheeks in Oloroso with fava bean puree ($17.50) and the Patatas tortilla with alioli ($10.00).
It took several bites of the king fish before I realised I hadn’t taken a photo! The vine leaf imparted a subtle flavour on the fish, and while I ate around it, Bonnie and K decided to eat the whole thing! The fish was beautifully moist and the final touch of fresh dill reminded me of Christmas as we always have a Swedish smorgasbord on Christmas Eve.
The beef cheeks was probably my favourite dish. Melt-in-the-mouth beef topped with a thick tomato sauce spiked with Oloroso (a Spanish sherry) it was delicious – definitely a good choice on a winter-style summers day!
The tortilla while fairly text-book was still delicious when served with the creamy aioli. It made a great accompaniment with the other dishes, and served as an excellent side with the beef cheeks.
To finish, we had to order the pomegranate and orange blossom sorbet with sugared pistachios ($12.00) and the flourless lemon and goats milk cake ($12.00) to share. Both were adorned with pomegranate seeds, a favourite ingredient of the chef here I think. Both were deliciously fruity, although I would not have called our lemon cake a cake so much as a pudding (or a mess!). Either way it was deliciously lemony and not too sweet.
Añada is a great little addition to Gertrude st, presenting some classic Spanish favourites cooked to perfection. While some may argue the polished look of the restaurant is at odds with it’s surroundings, the intimate feel of the place is definitely very Fitzroy.
197 Gertrude St,
(03) 9415 6101