I’m not going to lie – Southern European isn’t generally a cuisine that grabs me and insists that I partake of its delights. I grew up on Chinese food, and other regional variations, and that’s what I naturally gravitate towards. My late mum’s version of a pasta was home-brand spaghetti mixed with some mince and frozen vegetables. Heck, my own current fast version of a pasta is spaghetti with mince and frozen vegetables! I really just haven’t had the opportunity to try Southern European cuisine beyond the usual spaghetti bolognaise and lamb kebabs, so my interest in the region’s cuisine was never really piqued.
With my recent visit to Mordeo Bistro & Bar though, I would say this has all changed! K and I were recently invited to attend the launch of this new restaurant in the heart of the Sydney CBD, and treated to an evening of music, drinks, and delicious food.
Located in the Assembly of Deutsche bank place, Mordeo is perfectly situated for those after work drinks for anyone working in the city – from suits to creative types. The giant lampshades that mark its presence are eye-catching – you definitely can’t miss it! The space is surprisingly warm as well, despite the open-air location.
Starting with a slightly healthier option, we try the octopus carpaccio with split green beans and chorizo. The octopus is sliced so thinly that it’s almost translucent, and cooked to perfection. There’s no rubbery octopus served at Mordeo!
Moving onto a slightly less healthy option, I simply fall upon the BBQ lamb ribs with Pedro Ximenez. The lamb is incredibly tender and simply falls apart almost as soon as you pick up the rib. The sticky sweet marinade is just melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
The squid ink gnocchi was extremely simple, and the soft gnocchi texture worked really well with the extremely flavourful truffle notes in the salumi.
The quail was excellent – I often find it hard to eat quail because it’s so small and fiddly, but this quail was prepared beautifully and grilled to melt-in-your-mouth perfection.
The chicken ballotine was tender and tasty, with the pearl barley adding a special something to the mouthful. The creamy spinach wasn’t bad either!
I personally really liked the pea risotto, which I found had a really fresh mouth-feel by itself but an extra salty burst when combined with the jamon. This is something I want to try and replicate at home!
We tried the Catalana, a Spanish-style creme caramel. As K’s favourite dessert is creme caramel, I bet you can expect how wel this went down! We ended up going back for seconds.
My favourite dessert was the Loukoumadis though, a Greek-style donut. Soaked in honey and topped with icing sugar, these little fried doughnuts are dangerously more-ish.
Keen to try some of the cocktails listed, K flags down one of the wait staff on the evening who obligingly gives us all three to try.
- Red wolf – white wolf cream ale with Campari, Antica formula red vermouth and a blood orange foam
- Jamon and chargrilled pineapple sazerac with a jamon and sage crisp – Jamon and Pedro Ximenez butter washed Hennessey vsop with a chargrilled pineapple shrub and pechauds bitters
- Cold drip spiced rum old fashioned – Kracken spiced rum, cold drip single origin coffee, cold drip syrup, angostura bitters with a twist of orange
I’m not drinking very much at the moment, but I’d say that my personal favourite was the red wolf – the blood orange foam really topped off the drink. K preferred the smokiness of the pineapple and jamon cocktail…can you blame him?!
We’ll certainly be back to Mordeo – and in fact, their weekly Friday banquets caught my eye! For only $35 per person, you can have a “Chefs Pick” all you can eat feast…now that’s the type of dining experience that convinces me to give Southern European cuisine a try!
Gourmanda attended the official launch of Mordeo Bistro and Bar as a guest of Pendulum Communications.