161 King St
Sydney CBD

Subsolo is a Portuguese word that means basement and this restaurant is certainly true to its name - being underground and actually a bit hidden away. Venture down their stairway to heaven though and you'll find a delightful Spanish/Portuguese restaurant with subdued lighting, plenty of well spaced tables and a wide variety of drinks from cocktails through to plenty of local and imported wine.

Subsolo is more casual, light and easy by day but transforms into a more sophisticated and romantic restaurant by night. They have a variety of areas there - including spaces that can be made into private areas by closing the chained curtains (they can seat 55 for dinner in the back room alone). The variety of spaces means that they have become popular with groups.

Subsolo has two sittings on weekends - 6pm and 8pm. They have to! Also being close to the Capitol Theatre means they get a lot of pre-show diners and they move them through comfortably and in time for their shows. Flat rate parking at The Westin of only $15 helps as well!

Subsolo has been there for 7 years already - it's lasted and grown. Their whole Iberian menu focuses on  Spanish/Portuguese home cooking.

We started with some lovely drinks. Sir had a delicious variation of a Bombay Sidecar - here called a Ron Coche. This drink was made with El Dorado 5 year old rum, pomme verte and Cointreau, served chilled with fresh lemon and lime juice. Mlady was in training for next years food odyssey to Spain and had a very tasty Sub Sangria. This was made with Havana Club Blanco, Curacao, sweet vermouth and came served with seasonal fruits that had been soaked in Tempranillo and it was all topped with fresh lemonade. Both drinks looked great and tasted just as good.

Richard Nichols, one of the owners, started us off on the deli board. It was very substantial having several cold cuts, cheese, jamon pate and pickled vegetables as well as some bread to pile it all on top of!  It was all so good and a great way to start our evening as we took in the buzz from the room and watched as the busy restaurant handled it all effortlessly. A bowl of warmed tasty olives dressed with fresh chilli capped it all off perfectly.

Next was a platter alternating between Bacalao salt cod croquettes and cheesy Manchego croquettes.

We love our croquettes and having two here was a bonus!

Both versions here were very tasty and full flavoured but Mlady loved the Manchego the best and Sir the salted cod. It's always a personal taste thing isn't it?

The pork belly just had to be ordered, especially when Richard described it to us. It's a speciality here. What came was two pieces of very artistically presented pork with lovely crackling on top. It had great colours with its pile of red cabbage on top and of course the apple underneath. It tasted great too!

A couple of glasses of their Luis Canas 2008 Reserva Tempranillo Blend - Rioja went so nicely with this too.

We love stuffed zucchini flowers and always marvel at the different fillings restaurants use with this versatile vegetable.

These were filled with blue cheese and came served with a side of salsa verde. Fortunately the blue cheese filling was very mild and didn't overpower the rest of the dish.

They were massive zucchini flowers too - so there was plenty of filling. 

The lamb salad was another recommendation and for a dish that we probably wouldn't have otherwise ordered. We were so glad we did though - it was soooo good and one of Sirs favourite dishes of the year.

The vibrant colours looked spectacular and the combination of fresh minted figs, tender sweet lamb, the gentle tartness of the fruity pomegranate molasses was truly beautiful. This dish was magnificent!

Our next dish was impressive as well and had a degree of showmanship with the way it was served. The beef arrived on a plate sliced and on top of a bed of colourful vegetables. However before it was served it was torched - right at the table. The beef was extremely tender and we loved the flavours of this dish. 

Their chicken espetada was slow cooked over coals to keep it tender and moist. It worked! This was another impressive dish for both appearance and taste - arriving on a massive skewer suspended from a wrought iron rack that looked like a candelabra. It all came with salad and chips making it a huge dish - no wonder they recommend it for sharing. Some tasty peri peri spices gave it a real kick.

Dessert time - and we were bulging. Nevertheless we soldiered on - what a pair of troupers! We had a lovely saffron orange sorbet  - omg - how refreshing and delicious was this! Of course it's hard to not order their famous churos - so we did. Mlady wanted a vat of the chocolate. She devoured it.

We also had two glasses of absolutely amazing Alvear 1927 Pedro Ximenez - this was liquid silk!

Subsolo has a kind of secret lair like feel to it - like somewhere spies would descend to when making world changing deals. Once you get downstairs you instantly see that it's a lovely place that is rightly very popular despite its hidden location. This place is a hidden treasure of Sydney.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Subsolo. Special than ks to Richard Nichols for looking after us so well. A big thanks also to Max Riley for arranging our visit so capably.

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