PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate, the boys who brought tapas hot spot Bodega to the Sydney dining scene, have elevated their signature cool to new heights at the recently opened Porteño. The restaurant, whose name refers to the port-dwelling residents of Buenos Aires, is a celebration of all things Argentine from its collection of grills and open ovens to the Mendoza-heavy wine list and Latin-themed cocktails.
The revamp of the former Dimitri's Greek restaurant space maximises the building's unique architectural nuances – the whitewashed room centres on a tiled, courtyard-like dining space, filled with large marble-top dining tables. Variously shaped archways surround the high-ceiling heart of the restaurant, through which mini-staircases carry guests around the multi-level space. Upstairs, the dusty pink, pin-cushioned bar is topped with a black lacquered counter in the cocktail area. The venue is a mixture of different spaces that keep guests guessing and offers thoughtful detail around each seemingly never-ending corner.
Porteño specialises in all manner of obscure and delicious meats. For entrée, try the morcilla (blood sausage), savoury yet subtle and served with earthy, garlicky red capsicums. Individual empanadas, a common street snack in South America, are bound in soft pastry, piping hot and stuffed with a tasty beef mince mixture. Woodfired meats, spread over the open pit on the ground level for all to see, are removed after hours of cooking for diners' delight. The slow-roasted Suffolk lamb is butter-soft and well worth the hefty price tag for its relatively small portion.
Be sure to put your name down for one of Porteño's coveted tables – bookings are only accepted for groups of five or more – and take a seat at Sydney's newest, hottest restaurant and bar.