Monday, 11 March 2013

Pintxo - casual tapas in New Farm

What to do on a Sunday night when your usual plans for a movie and dinner with friends falls through?  SC and I thought long and hard about going it alone to see a movie and grab some dinner but the movie we wanted to see was not on at a good time.  Still wanting to get out of the house, we decided on a nice simple dinner at one of our favourite Spanish tapas restaurants in the New Farm.

Pintxo is an interesting little taperia located on Brunswick street that has gone through a bit of an evolution of late.  At one time there was a tapas train taking up half of the restaurant and it was a great way to come in with mates and sample different spanish delights.  Recently Pintxo has moved away from the tapas train and converted the area to more traditional dining.

The name pintxo comes from the Basque region of Spain and literally translates to 'spike' and is in reference to toothpick that is spiked through bite size ingredients.  Usually associated as starters in Spanish cuisine they are often found in bars or taverns across northern Spain.  The main difference between a tapas and a pintxo is the 'spike' through the food.

There is a great selection of tapas available on the menu at Pintxo and having eaten here a heap of times before, SC and I have our favourites that we like to order.  There had been a few minor changes to the menu since our last visit, but everything still looked pretty good.  We ordered our usual favourites but there were a couple of additional specials on the night that we had to try.  While we were waiting for the first dish to arrive, SC ordered a glass of the red Sangria which is traditionally made up of wine, chopped fruit, brandy and sweetener.  It was not as good as the stuff we had in Barcelona but it was definitely in the ballpark.

To start our tapas journey we ordered the Pinxto's classic croquetas, which are mashed potatoes mixed usually with a meat and then breadcrumbed and deep fried.  They are a very traditional dish and will be found on any Spanish menu.  We were surprised with how many croquetas we received and the five that came covered in a garlic aioli was probably just a little heavy to start the meal.  I have never been a big fan of croquetas and true to form didn't really enjoy them, but SC thought they were pretty good.  I ended up eating one of them and SC had three, so there was one left at the end that went to waste.

Next was the first of the nightly specials and was red bell peppers stuffed with goats cheese and jamon, so essentially they were like big croquetas with a bell peper included!  I didn't think I would like these as I am not a fan of bell peppers but I was quite surprised.  The cooking process had taken away the bitter taste of the bell peppers and left only a sweetness that worked really well with the melted goats cheese.  There was a capsicum sauce that added a little spiciness to the dish and in combination with the crunchy coating delivered a winning dish.

Another of the nightly specials was brought to the table next and it should be no surprise that it was one of my favourites for the night.  The chorizo with red peppers and potatoes was an interesting looking dish, with the sliced chorizo sitting on top of what looked like toasted baguette slices.  Upon closer inspection we could tell that the 'baguette' was in fact the potato sliced and cooked to appear like toasted baguette.  The approach for this was to cut up the chorizo and along with the red peppers add it to the potato.  The combination of the sweetness from the peppers and the slight zing from the chorizo worked really well with the starchy potato.  This was a fine example of chorizo and was sweet with just a little hint of heat.  Yum!

Our all time favourite Pintxo dish was next.  We love the vieiras en cava - scallops cooked in a cream and wine sauce with roasted cauliflower.  The creamy sauce is simply amazing with a really unctuous texture and a flavour that is bordering on heavenly.  The flavour is hard to describe but its deep and complex and as the same time light and full of flavour.  The very large and generous serving of scallops were mostly well cooked, but I found a couple of them to be slightly over cooked and as such they were a little rubbery.  I can actually forgive this because the cream sauce is just so delicious.

The last of our mains came out and SC and I were pretty full by this time, so the eating of the Pintxo's Gambas  - prawns wrapped in jamon serrano, fell to me.  Normally this would be a joy for me as I really love the dish but tonight I was struggling because we had ordered too much food (I think the croquetas were the culprit).  The prawns were perfectly cooked and wrapped in jamon and then 'spiked' for cooking and eating.  This is a really rich and fatty dish, so I appreciated the salad and tomatos with a acidic dressing to help cut through the fat.   Even though it was tough, I ate all of the prawns and most of the salad.  Next time we need to be a little more conservative with the number of dishes, they sure do add up!

Even thought I was full, there is always a second stomach for dessert so when encouraged by the wait staff to order dessert, I went for it.  I ordered the crema catalana, which is the Spanish version of a creme brûlée.  There was something not quite right with the dessert, there was something wrong with the texture, which should have been creamy and smooth.  The texture was a bit rubbery and quite thick, which detracted from the dish, which is unfortunate because it tasted great.  The sugar crust on top was thick and crunchy but it was a bit over caramelised so it tasted a bit burnt.  Overall the dessert was a bit disappointing. 

Apart from a few minor problems with dessert we really enjoyed the tapas, with some really high points awarded for the vieiras en cava, we could easily have eaten this all night on its own.  We stuck mainly to items we had eaten before and were tried and tested but were pretty happy with the specials that were on offer on the night.

Most of the times we have been to Pintxo before there has been a great vibe to the restaurant and heaps of people around but on this night we were the only customers.  I am not sure if this is a regular occurrence on a Sunday night here but it was a bit weird being in the restaurant by ourselves.  On the plus side, we received fantastic service from the wait staff in attendance.

Pintxo is a great place to go if you want authentic tapas at a reasonable price.  I have never had a bad meal there and almost always walk out with a smile on my face.  The lingering memory I have of the meal is SC sitting at the table with sangria in hand and a big grin saying 'Spanish food is goooood'.


Not quite alfresco but if you are not quick on a Saturday night you could be sitting ouside
Sangria, not quite soup!!
Sunday night was very quiet early on but we had great service

Pintxo Spanish Taperia on Urbanspoon Pintxo Spanish Taperia & Tapas Train


  1. Hola Scotty! Thank you for your review. We're pleased you enjoyed your night and take your suggestions on board too! Gracias, Melissa.

  2. Thanks Melissa, we have been there a heap of times and love the place. Keep up the great tapas!!

  3. Just a comment, croquetas aren't made of mashed potato but bechamel sauce, which is basically a mix of milk, flour a pinch of butter. If the ones you tried were made of potato, they were not croquetas, mate!

  4. Thanks buddy, some do make it with bechamel sauce, Wikipedia would disagree with you, as would numerous other sources, which state they can be made with just about anything as would


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