358 Cleveland St
Surry Hills, Sydney

We'd tried to get in to Porteno before - without booking or arriving early - and failed. This time we got there early, joined the queue that was already forming and made it in. We were both curious as to whether it would be worth it - it was.

Porteno is great. Its not the cheapest meal in town, but it is certainly one of the best. The food, service and decor were all excellent. You can book for groups of five or more but for those with less than that get there early or be prepared to wait upstairs or come back (after you put your name down).

We started with a drink and some marinated olives.

For our drink we chose a glass each of the Bodega Del Desierto Merlot from La Pampa. It cost $14.50 a glass and was a lovely red.

The olives were very tasty. It wasn't an overpowering marinade, in fact it was quite light and delicate. The olives were plump and juicy and the flavours were good.

They were predominantly green olives with some black ones peppering the bowl. All of them had their pips intact but we had a pip bowl so all was good! For $8.00 it was reasonably priced too.

Main number one was the wagyu beef outside skirt. Normally outside skirt isn't my choice but this was amazing. Mlady isn't a big red meat eater - usually preferring seafood, chicken or even vegetarian - but she said this was the dish of the night. She also likes her meat well done and this was medium to medium rare. It just melted in our mouths - it was that tender. At $42.00 its not cheap but its amazing. The meat came with an extremely tasty pirri pirri sauce as well. It was a lovely blend that went so nicely.

As a side dish we had the  sauteed broccolini with confit lemon and mustard seeds.

It wasn't a huge serving but this was deceptive. There was actually more there than appeared to be the case at first. The broccolini was tender and juicy. It was almost crisp but not quite - just reaching the perfect state of cooked but not overcooked.

The confit lemon and mustard seeds were great. I haven't had this combination with broccolini before - but I wish I had. The flavours were amazing.

 I'm not the worlds greatest lover of vegetables this was a winner and I'd gladly be back for seconds. It was $14.00.

Main number two was the  BBQ calamari with marinated flat beans and yoghurt tahini tartare. Wow - another winner here as well.

The combinations at Porteno never cease to amaze. They are different but go so well.

The calamari was tender and not chewy. The rest of the dish just set everything off perfectly. I really liked the yoghurt tahini tartare - it was a lovely dip like side that melded well with all the other ingredients.

 The final decision was whether to dessert or not. Everything else had been so lovely we figured that dessert would be as well - and of course it was.
My choice was the  apricot and chocolate tart, Familia Marguerry muscat and creme fraiche ice-cream, vanilla Chantilly.

It was a big serving. The pastry was crisp but not overcooked. The filling was a beautiful amalgam of flavours and textures.

The apricot and chocolate went well together. The ice-cream and Chantilly looked impressive and tasted just as good.

I'm a sweet eater and this was a great end to a great meal.
Mlady chose the burnt milk custard with cherry and chocolate ice-cream. She thought it had a bit of a complex creme brulle feel to it - and it did.

What arrived looked busy with lots of different textures, colours and flavours on the plate. It was a lovely combination though that tasted amazing. Desserts are all $16.00 and are well worth having here.

Porteno is a great restaurant. The decor is lovely, the service outstanding and the food is memorable for all the right reasons - it's delicious!!

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