When Broadsheet first enters Emma Ferguson’s new Northbridge diner, she’s halfway through changing a record. A soundtrack consisting entirely of old-school surf rock LPs – and a sleek, modern fit-out – signals Los Bravos isn’t your typical tapas joint.
With 100 seats and alfresco dining – the street-side bench seats must rank as one of the best people-watching spots in the city– the size of the venue has allowed its owners to create a relaxed, easy atmosphere.
“It’s a bit more outdoor, a bit more group friendly than No Mafia,” says Ferguson, comparing Los Bravos to the other Northbridge venue she owns with husband Dan Morris. “There’s definitely a bit more of a bar theme here.”
Those looking to indulge in a drink or two will find a wine list studded with Spanish varieties (including white, red and fortified), Moritz beer on tap and a cocktail list full of classics that have been given an Iberian twist. The Manhattan, Negroni, and Sherry Cobbler have all been reworked to feature ingredients such as Spanish vermouth and sherry. The Espresso Martini is garnished with a freshly made, miniature churro.
Regarding the sherry – and its dry incarnations in particular – Ferguson and her team are on a mission to educate and convert open-minded drinkers to this sometimes misunderstood fortified wine. Easing into things with more approachable styles such as fino and manzanilla, initial signs have been encouraging.
“We’ve been open less than a week and we’ve already sold a case of fino,” says a clearly chuffed Ferguson as she pours a couple of glasses on the venue’s ornately tiled bar. If things keep going this well, the more complex amontillado and oloroso could soon join the line-up.
Food-wise, the menu provides options for everything from a few light tapas to a full meal. A partnership with Perth seafood supplier Kailis has led to a number of dishes brimming with fresh local catches prepared with Spanish techniques and flavours: pickled whiting, salted local cod with oranges and thyme, and cured mackerel with an orange and fino vinaigrette. But you’ll also find tapas bar classics such as jamon iberico, manchego croquettes and grilled chorizo.
Looking for something more substantial? We recommend the cooked-to-order paella. Featuring all of the characteristics that have made it one of Spain’s most iconic dishes – chunky, well-seasoned bomba rice, perfectly cooked seafood and the sticky, crusty socarrat – it strikes just the right balance of finesse and rustic heartiness.
With warmer weather on the way, Los Bravos has arrived just in time to inject a slice of breezy Spanish charm into the gritty heart of Northbridge.
252 William Street, Northbridge
Mon to Sat 4pm–late
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on October 5, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.