PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
It's a trip most of us dream about: a six-month odyssey through Spain and Portugal, exploring regional cuisines and hanging out in tapas bars. Bar Lourinha is the result of this culinary adventure; a modern bar at the top end of Collins Street.
The mood is relaxed and casual, the enthusiasm for the food by co-owners Matt McConnell, Jo Gamvros and Simon Benjamin, obvious. McConnell (formerly of Berardo's at Noosa and Diningroom 211) developed the menu while travelling; tasting and cooking his way through southern Europe. This is an exciting bar that brings a modern sensibility to the tapas experience of eating and drinking.
Start by ordering the northern yellow fin tuna infused with apple and vanilla and the pickled sardines and parsley salad. Both dishes are all simplicity and distinguished by the quality of the hand-selected produce. Order a glass of Manzanilla (Spanish sherry) and try the wagyu carne cruda based on a regional Italian dish. Angelo's morcilla (black pudding) and the spiced rabbit empanadillas will satisfy more traditional tapas lovers. The shark confit and waxy spuds is another example of McConnell's interpretation of regional cuisine, Australian style. The menu is substantial enough to dine in, or perfect the tapas art of grazing.