I love eating out but the 2 main concerns I have are:
(a) the providence of the meat- is it from wild or grass fed animals on the one hand or from industrialised feedlots, battery farms or fish farms on the other (there is a world of difference and for more information refer to one of my earlier posts here); and
(b) the processing of the fats/oils used to cook the food- can they accommodate using natural unadulterated fats and oils (e.g. butter, coconut oil, beef tallow or I'd settle for olive oil) as opposed to vegetable oils or trans fats (e.g. canola, cottonseed, margarine)?
I often get asked for restaurant recommendations so I'm going to do a restaurant review on a regular basis.
First cab off the rank is Porteno - its been on my hit list since it opened in Surry Hills about 2 years ago.
Food type: traditional Argentinian.... so lots of meat! Not a good options for vegetarians (but hey I doubt any hard core vegetarians are following my blog!). Meat source: loads of grass-fed meats on the mains (you'll recognise the providence of the meat if you buy from Feather & Bone). Fats/oils: for many of the entrees and a couple of the side dishes they do use processed oils (vegetable oil from memory) so you need to ask the waiter to point these out and choose the dishes that don't contain these oils or ask whether they can accommodate using olive oil instead which is a much healthier option than vegetable oils. All of the meat dishes on the mains were free of vegetable oils- and there are plenty of choices. What we ordered: for entree: smoked mackerel, braised octopus, and blood sausages for entree. For mains: 8 hour wood fired pig with crispy crackling and 8 hour wood fired lamb. Other enticing options were veal tongue and quail eggs. Sadly, we had no room for dessert. Taste and presentation: All delicious, especially the pork with crispy crackling. Food portions: huge! 1 main feeds 2 people. We over-ordered and took home a doggy bag which rarely happens. Atmosphere: great vibe - large, open space with traditional South Amercican decor Price: approx $24-26 for an entree; approx $38 for a main. Service: wait staff were excellent and made good suggestions (esp for South American wines). Value for money: thumbs up. I'll be back.... Large groups: yes- they had a massive table that could fit about 20 people (at a guess). Kid friendly: yes. Caution: they do not take bookings for less than 5 people so if there's a party of 4 or less you need to start queuing from about 5:30pm to get a table when the restaurant opens at 6pm. Don't forget to ask the waiter to point out which dishes contain processed oils. And then there's the usual parking issues in Surry Hills.
Contact details: 358 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, ph 02 8399 1440, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.porteno.com.au
Have you been to Porteno? What did you think? If you've been to a great restaurant lately where consideration is given to the source and processing of their food (esp meats and fats/oils), then I'd love tohear about it. Kali Orexi (that's Greek for Good Appetite)!!