Pachamama House
2/200 Goulburn St
Darlinghurst/Surry Hills, Sydney

Pachamama House has a nice open feel to it with the inside blending well with the outside. It has pleasant background music creating a comfortable relaxed atmosphere.

The dark decor, soft comfy lounges and rich wood panelling add to the ambiance. Pachamama means mother earth in South America - and the food reflects this.

The first section on the menu covers cebiche - which is pronounced sa-beech-ay - which is basically another spelling format for ceviche - a South American dish consisting of raw fish marinated in citrus juices.

We started with The Classic which was finely sliced raw snapper marinated in fresh lime juice, green chilli and coriander and topped with sweet potato chips.

This was so fresh and so tasty. The distinct lime flavour came through strongly but you could still taste the fish through it.

This was a great starter and was good value at $16.00.

Our next starter was A la piedra.

This was husk baked fish of the day with calamari, rocoto and mussels. Rocoto is a type of capsicum found predominantly in South America.

Presentation was again excellent with a good variety of seafood with great flavour combinations. If you love seafood you'll like this one!

This dish was also memorable because of how it was served - the husk adding a degree of novelty.

It was also well priced for what we had at $17.00.

We then tried some of the small dishes. Mlady had a crispy roll which was filled with smoked eel and green apple and came with a side of wasabi mayonnaise as a dipping sauce. It was certainly crisp and the filling was unusual and full of flavour. The wasabi mayonnaise also wasn't overpowering - as wasabi infusion can sometimes be. The rolls cost $4.50 each.

I had an empanada filled with braised pork cheek and Chilean condiment - which was like a diced salsa. It was a great mix of flavour and texture and also only $4.50 each.

We found our starters very light and tasty, whetting our appetite and making us want more.

Our first main course was the Chilean sea bass with roasted scallops, yucca, and panca sauce.

Yucca is an arid area American plant that has edible fruit, seeds and flowers.

The fish was beautifully cooked - it was tender and moist. The thick sauce on it went so well - not overpowering it but simply adding to the flavour. It was Mlady's favourite - and in addition she loved the crispy skin.

This cost $27.00 and it was a generous serving that was again well presented with the colours of the food offset against the earthy traditionally styled bowl.

The sticky duck with roasted coconut and crispy rice was probably my favourite.

It came in three portions with each on a betel leaf. I love the emerging use of betel leaf in Australia and the flavour it gives to the food it envelopes.

The duck was lovely and the rice and coconut went so well with it creating a rich and almost tropical taste. The combination of food and textures worked so well.

This serving cost $20.00.

Mlady's dessert was Alfajor which was a special for the night.

It consisted of a Spanish shortbread log covered in  creme caramel and topped with a slivered strawberry and accompanied by a sweet salad of balsamic strawberries and a mint leaf garnish - which also disappeared.

Presentation was again beautiful - as was the flavour mix. The caramel went perfectly and wasn't sickly.

I had the picarones - described in the menu as sweet potato doughnuts with spiced syrup.

I have never had these tasty morsels before and after trying them I wish I'd found them sooner.

They were great and the sauce topped them off nicely as the doughnuts weren't overly sweet on their own.

This was a generous serving and cost $10.00.

We accompanied our meal with a few glasses of the 2011 entre vinhas reserva - a lovely Portuguese drop somewhere between a merlot and a shiraz - which was soft and very nice.

Pachamama has great food that is true to its name - with an earthy purity that allows the flavour of the food to do the talking. This venture for Tony Maia and chef Danny Parreno has lovely decor, great service (thanks to Lauren) and drinks (from Tristan at the bar) and a nice feel to the whole place. It's a restaurant you'll go back to.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Pachamama.

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