Pata Negra, second time around

Crème caramel with a honey, strawberry and cardamom sauce with a dollop of cream

For my birthday dinner with the girls, we went to Pata Negra and my last visit there was back in late July. This time I wasn’t overly impressed with the service.

The booking was made at 6.30pm for the early setting and the place was already packed. We ordered some tapas to share to begin with. We ordered some spiced and smoked almonds, Bruce Street bomba, salt roasted tiger prawns with Turkish spoon salad and mountain bread with zataar. The spiced and smoked almonds came in a re-used sardine can and were rather smoky and spicy. A bomba is a type of potato croquette which is a small fried food roll containing usually as main ingredients mashed potatoes, and/or minced meat (veal, beef, chicken, or turkey), shellfish, fish, vegetables, and soaked white bread, egg, onion, spices and herbs, wine, milk, beer or any of the combination thereof, sometimes with a filling, often encased in breadcrumbs. The croquette is usually shaped into a cylinder or disk, and then deep-fried. The croquette (from the French croquer, “to crunch”) was a French invention that gained worldwide popularity, both as a delicacy and as a fast food. In Spain, bomba especially filled with jamón or chicken, are also a typical tapas dish. Unfilled bechamel croquettes are also consumed in parts of Spain. The Bruce Street Bomba was filled with jamon and a creamy mayonaise on top of the bomba along a tomato relish. Very delicious! I was hoping to taste the bomba at MoVida and can’t compare it with Pata Negra’s

The prawns were very yummy and I am a huge fan of prawns. They split the prawn in half, BBQ them and topped it with Turkish spoon salad. Turkish spoon salad is basically combines all the flavours of a gazpacho: cucumbers, onion, beautifully vine-ripened tomatoes, red peppers, chilli, fresh herbs and some Turkish condiments. It’s a beautifully versatile dish located somewhere between a salad, a dip and a salsa that can be eaten on its own or as an accompanying dish.

The mountain bread was homemade, toasted and accompanied with a humus dip. For mains, we ordered grilled kingfish with broad bean puree, green olive, parsley and lemon, chargrilled asparagus with romesco sauce, wood roasted mushrooms with confit garlic and manchego, Pata negra febada confit duck, pork hock with chorizo and white beans and honey, cardamom glazed lamb shoulder with artichokes and a beetroot and walnut puree.

The kingfish was slightly undercook (I must say, we had a pregnant friend with us and the waitperson should have asked if we would like the fish cooked through) and we had to send it back to be re-cooked. I do like the flavours of broad bean puree and green olives with the kingfish though. The asparagus was simply grilled with a beautiful romesco and rich sauce. Romesco is a sauce originating in Tarragona (Catalonia, Spain) that is typically made from almonds, pine nuts, and/or hazelnuts, roasted garlic, olive oil and nyoras – a smaller, sweet, dried variety of red bell pepper. Other common ingredients include roasted tomatoes, red wine vinegar and onion. Leaves of fennel or mint may be added, particularly if served with fish or escargot. It is perhaps most often served with seafood, but can also be served with a wide variety of other foods including poultry and vegetables, particularly calçots.

The confit duck was delicious and to me, more of a winter dish as it was served in a small copper pan. The duck was tender along with bits of pork hock and white beans. It is a dish where you want pieces of bread to soak up all the remaining sauce. I guess my favourite was the lamb shoulder glazed with honey and cardamom, cooked perfectly with artichokes and this delicious beetroot and walnut puree. The puree was amazing, slight crunchy from the walnuts but sweet from the beetroot.

We also ordered a few deserts which were the meringues with king island cream and boysenberries, a crème caramel with a honey, strawberry and cardamom sauce with a dollop of cream and the doughnut with Pedro Ximenez ice cream (which is one of my favourites). The meringues were delicious and light. The crème caramel was rich and custardy along with the light and refreshing strawberry, honey sauce with a hint of cardamom.

My highlight of the meal would be the lamb shoulder. I loved the flavours and that beetroot walnut puree. The lowlight was the service. I understand it is the earlier session but it felt like we were being rushed throughout the meal. Before the deserts were served, the bill was already on our table. Mental note, do not take the earlier session if you can!

This time around, I give Pata Negra 7 ½ for the food quality, 8 for the atmosphere, 7 for service and 7 ½ for pricing.

Pata Negra

26 Stirling Highway
Nedlands WA 6009
(08) 9389 5517

Open Tue-Sat 5pm-11pm

Pata Negra on Urbanspoon

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