Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado arrived exclusively at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane last month, with the same trumpet fanfare and charged anticipation as when a mighty matador enters the bullring for the first time.
Being an (amateur at best in my case) art critic is hard work and you’re sure to work up a bit of an appetite. So once you’ve worked your way around the 100+ artworks, take off your tie, grab a few señors and señoritas and let the collection inspire you to try some of Brisbane’s best Spanish eats.
South Bank’s newest Spaniard, Olé, is a trendy little taperia serving up authentic tapas, raciones (larger share plates), paella and litre jugs of white or red sangria. On Thursdays and Sundays, between 5-9pm, they offer a mean Sunset Tapas special – two tapas, two raciones and a jug of sangria for $50. I can highly recommend the crispy whitebait and calamari and the beef and chorizo meatballs. Yum! If you’re not one to wait in line though, make sure you get in early as tables fill up quickly.
Pintxo Spanish Taperia
It’s pronounced “pin-cho” but all you really need to know is it translates into a fine reason for socialising! Pintxo Spanish Taperia in New Farm was well known for its now defunct Tapas Train but still pumps out a big range modern and traditional tapas dishes, and not one but FIVE different sangrias (red, white, cherry, peach and kiwifruit). Paella Wednesdays are popular if you have a plus one, dishing out a paella to share, two glasses or wine or sangria plus hot churros for dessert for 60 bucks. Now, how do you say bargain in Spanish?
This two-hatted restaurant in Fortitude Valley serves up hearty Spanish fare in simple rustic surrounds, with exposed brick walls and hanging cured meats. On the street level you’ll find Ortiga’s vibrant tapas bar, while the ground floor houses a stylish restaurant dining room and open kitchen. Chef Pablo Tordesillas specialises in ‘nose-to-tail’ eating and his menu, like most of the Mediterranean persuasion, is designed to be shared. Try the slow-cooked whole lamb shoulder with potatoes and lemon puree – it’s not just a meal, it’s an experience, completed by a waiter carving the meat at your table.
Paying homage to the wine bars of Barcelona, Seville and Madrid, Peasant at The Barracks has an extensive wine list heralding almost entirely from Spain, Portugal and Argentina. The names of the alternative varietals are spelled out phonetically so you won’t make an embarrassing pronunciation gaffe (appreciated)! and the menu is divided up into nibbles, tapas and share plates to be followed by a choice of three desserts that (refreshingly) doesn’t include churros. You can take a bite out of the worst day of the week with Peasant’s Paella Mondays – paella for two for $30 and $20 carafes of sangria.
Granada Tapas Bar
Another of South Brisbane’s bustling Spanish eateries, Granada, not surprisingly, specialises in little plates of food to share. It’s a favourite amongst local hispanophiles thanks to its well-priced and authentic Iberian menu – think baby red peppers filled with salt cod and potato, spinach and goats cheese croquettes and beef cheek empanadas, just to name a few. And the best part? A night out here won’t break the bank. So skip the siesta and get into Granada – ándele, ándele!
What’s your favourite Spanish experience in Brisbane?