I first came across Contrabando when I was invited to a work lunch for Taco Tuesday, which featured $3 tacos all day every Tuesday. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but I did check out the menu and was keen to go at the next available opportunity. A couple of weeks later, after a little confusion finding it, my boyfriend and I eventually arrived at the upside down Noble House sign and made our way down the dimly lit stairs. I wanted to try just about everything on the menu, but had to settle for the sensible option of only ordering enough for two people. We began with the crab tostadas – the shredded crab was sweet and creamy, with a hint of chilli, and was perfect with the crisp tostadas.
The spiced duck and pumpkin pasteles reminded me of deep fried wontons. The pastry exterior was fabulously crunchy and the duck filling worked very well with the smoky eggplant yoghurt.
The prawn skewers were delicious, perfectly seasoned and cooked with a touch of freshness coming from the green salsa.
For our main, we shared the seared calamari, which was very tender and very spicy. My boyfriend found it almost too hot to eat, but fortunately the zucchini and mint were on hand to slightly cool down the burning sensation.
I was keen to try the twice cooked sweet potato fries, and I wasn’t disappointed. Generally sweet potato fries come out very soggy, but these were crisp and sweet, especially when combined with the fried eschallots scattered throughout the bucket. The piquillo mayo was the perfect accompaniment, creamy and fresh.
Of course we had to go for the churros for dessert, although I was also tempted by the banana tarte tatin. While the churros were crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they did lack flavour on their own and I would have preferred if they had been rolled in cinnamon sugar prior to serving. I did love the rich, thick dulce de leche which came with the churros, however, the dark chocolate was too bitter for me.
- A welcome addition to the Latin American restaurant scene in Sydney; some really great flavour combinations and interesting dishes to choose from. Will definitely go back for more!
Basement, 21 Bent Street
Sydney NSW 2000
T: (02) 9231 0049