Hola (that means hello in Spanish, just FYI)— there’s a new (permanent) pop-up in town and Etxeberria has all the sizzling flare you can shake a stick at!
Housed in the Woodworks cafe on bustling Great North Road you’ll find the humble day-time eatery transformed into a slick restaurant come dusk. Billowy curtains and white brick contrast the deep wood furniture and flickering candles.
Chef Javier Carmona is set to transport you straight to the balmy nights of Spain and South America. His menu is a reflection of his roots—yet this is like no Spanish cuisine we’ve ever seen. It changes weekly and you can expect to see a thoughtful array of vibrant yet elegant dishes.
The night we visited we were greeted with ice-cold Spanish beer and chips that resembled pork crackling, yet were made from sago and cricket flour and flavoured with Manchego cheese. We followed those crispy sensations with a delicate squid ceviche which was paired with cured pork cheek, rhubarb, blood plum and pine needle.
Mains are just as impressive. The pork belly was oh-so tender and boasted beautiful flavour with its accompanying Achiote oil, Jamon water and fried bread. While the goat “Birra” packed some serious punch with its stranded onion, lime juice, coriander and sesame.
Desserts are just as epic. If you’re anything like us you won’t be able to pass up a tasty cheese dish to end the night. Here you’ll feast on the likes of Manchego cheese with quince butter, corn cracker and pickled black walnuts. Or, if you’re game try the goat’s milk ice cream, candied sweet potato, silver leaf and peanuts.
Admittedly, the dishes here are complex but the one thing that truly stands out is Javier’s obvious passion. You’ll notice him running each dish to every table to explain the exact ingredients, where he sourced them and techniques he’s used to make said ingredients into the dish they are. Then you’ll see him (almost) running back to the kitchen to tend to the next. And all we have to say to that is if a chef is game enough to leave his kitchen just to talk you about his creations: you know they’re going to be great! And great they are.
Image credit: Lauren Matilda Matthews