Wednesday 10 September 2008

South Side tapas at Basque, Windsor

159 Chapel Street, Windsor (map)
9533 7044


When G moved to Melbourne a few months ago, she toyed with the idea of living on the North Side - looked at rental places in Fitzroy and Collingwood. But no, she chose to go South Side, and found a very cute little terrace in Windsor (guess she won't be joining the facebook group called Bitch Please... I'm from the Northern Suburbs then... but maybe she could join South of the River - the better place to live in Melbourne or The Best Looking Chicks in Melbourne live South of the Yarra).

Off-topic, I know, but what I just love is that for all three of the above facebook groups, the #1 "Related Group" is Melbourne is better than Sydney! :-)

As a Cremorne resident, I get to stay pretty neutral in the North Side vs South Side gangland wars (though does living 100m north of the Yarra technically make me North Side?)... but I was nevertheless very happy to visit G's hood the other week and check out the best tapas Windsor has to offer.

Basque was comfortable and not at all pretentious, unlike some tapas places I've been to. We liked the oh-so-romantic candlelight (helped with the digicam photos of the food!) and the guitarists strumming in the corner, softly enough so that we could hear each other and catch up on each other's stories.

Basque guitarists

The tapas we had was very nice - nothing truly ground-breaking, but then that's not what we were looking for. First up was bunuelos de manchego - house-made cheesy puffs sprinkled with paprika salt ($6). Sinful but not too oily.

Basque fritters

Calamares a la romana - crispy fried calamari tossed with lemon, chilli, garlic and coriander ($14). Very very lemony, but I liked the touch of coriander.

Basque calamari

Quoting from the menu verbatim: codorniz con chocolate - pan-fried quail served in a rich jus finished with sherry and chocolate ($12.50). This was probably the most interesting dish of the night for me, for the simple reason that I haven't had many savoury dishes with chocolate sauce. I liked the flavour of the bitter chocolate with the slightly gamey meat. Good beans too.

Basque quail

Sauteed spinach with almonds ($9). Simple, effective.

Basque spinach

Empanada de pollo - chicken, red pepper and almond empanada with a crisp sherry pastry ($8.90). The empanada was the only slight disappointment - too much damn pastry.

Basque empanada

We finished off with a serve of churros to share. G had never had them before, so she was in for a treat. :-)

Basque churros

I don't think the South Side tapas were as exciting as those I've had North Side, but hey they were perfectly tasty and the place had a great little atmosphere. Can anyone recommend any other South Side (or North Side) tapas venues (ie not in the city) that are worth a visit?


Lucy said...

Hey Claire did you see the response I left to your comment on my blog? I mentioned that you simply have to check out Anada in Gertrude st! (If you haven't already!). It's my new Melbourne fave - MoVida-style food but a little more relaxed... and less expensive and easier to get in to! (although you will probably still need a booking...) be interested to know what you think! x

Sarah said...

Claire Claire...

You know that Melbourne is Better than Sydney facebook group? My good friend ADRI is the creator of that. Yup, the same girl who recommended Golden Dragon Monkey Palace for Yum Cha! What a kwinkydink!

Anonymous said...

I've only been to Basque once, a long while ago, but I'd say AƱada will be better -- it was far from perfect on the night I went, but some dishes were superlative. Choose well and it could be excellent. Booking is pretty much essential unless you're one of the first in when they open, or maybe very late.

melt said...

have you tried Flor, on Nicholson St (about 500m north of Alexandra Pde)?

claire said...

Hey Lucy yes I did see the response you left me on your blog - thanks. I haven't yet been to Anada, and am keen to try it out soon! One of my "new" cousins lives just around the corner from there so I'll have to get him to take me there... x

Sar Sar... that's awesome that your friend started that group. Melbourne Is Better Than Sydney was the first facebook group I joined! :)

Glad to have Anada seconded, thanks Duncan! It's definitely on the shortlist.

Hi Melt - yes I have been to Flor, but it was a few years ago and only for wines, not food. I read in the Epicure this week that it's changing hands... any word on the direction it'll be heading in?