When Firedoor chef and owner Lennox Hastie started working on his second Surry Hills venue Gildas, the first thing he did was sit down and write a list of all the things that meant “Spain” to him: things like salted fish, cured pork, clams, beans, olives and almonds.
Hastie, who spent several years working in Spain’s Basque country, and is considered one of the country’s greatest chefs, started building a pantry of these ingredients, sourced from Australian growers and producers.
The resulting menu wouldn’t look out of place in one of northern Spain’s lively tapas bars. But there are some obvious Australian touches: ham is prepared Basque-style and rubbed with sherry at Bundarra Berkshires in NSW’s Northern Tablelands; and one house take on the Gilda (the classic tapas dish from which the venue takes its name) sees lightly smoked Port Lincoln sardine fillet skewered with pickled Dutch carrot, finger lime and fennel pollen.
Gildas is designed to complement Firedoor around the corner, offering pre- and post-dinner drinks, while standing on its own as a destination. Thus, the drinks list is just as considered as the food. There’s a strong selection of wines and vermouths from Spain, Portugal and France; along with plenty of dry and savoury sherries.
The moodily lit venue’s design encourages an array of experiences – prop up at the bar or kitchen counter for a drink, or settle in at a marble-topped table designed for lingering (and eyeing off a striking origami-like illuminated artwork hanging along one of the walls).
Visit Gilda’s at “Golden Hour” for $12 wines and house cocktails (including a Martini and spicy Margarita), $12 off-menu specials and $5 gilda pintxos. Thursday and Friday from 5.30pm–6.30pm.
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