Can Cava Pintxos & Wine Bar may well be the first dedicated pintxos restaurant in Sydney. It’s definitely the first in Bondi. It’s also Dani Steger, Oriol Cortés Fusté and Tristan Terry’s first restaurant.
Kind of like tapas for the individual, pintxos restaurants (pronounced “pin-choss”) are common in the Basque region of Spain. Individual portions of food are displayed across the bar. You pick your snacks, then pay at the end by counting how many colour-coded pintxos toothpicks you’ve accumulated. It’s the same method common at sushi trains.
But NSW’s Food Authority legislation has prevented displaying the pintxos via the traditional method. While some pintxos locations around Australia do display the food along the bar, it’s usually behind glass with refrigeration, which, according to Cortés Fusté is “not sexy at all”. As a result, all pintxos, made by chef Jon Cowan, are made to order.
There’s a special pintxo on offer every few days. For now, expect a goat’s cheese croquette with rosemary salt and honey; pork belly and chorizo with cider puree; and lamb rib with mojo verde. Offerings such as the tuna tartare; tempura prawn with smoked paprika togarashi, and the chickpea frite with bravas sauce (spicy tomato sauce) and manchego are reflections of the varied nature of Australian cuisine.
“That’s the bit where Spain meets Bondi,” Steger says.
The wine list is 100 per cent Spanish. Cava, Spain’s answer to Champagne or prosecco, is the highlight. “We didn’t want to have 3000 wines because we don’t have the space. Also, we’re not sommeliers. It was about having it easy and clean,” says Cortés Fusté.
The space feels comfortable and welcoming. Fitted by Studio Ally.M and Hatch Constructions, there’s small, round, marble-topped tables, mismatched stools, terracotta-washed walls and lots of hand-painted Spanish tiles. ’90s Spanish pop music will be the night’s soundtrack.
Can Cava Pintxos & Wine
101 Hall Street, Bondi
(02) 9130 6062