I was invited back to La Puerta in Neutral Bay to try out their new winter menu and I graciously accepted the invitation from Chef Oscar as I have fond memories of my last visit. On my arrival I managed to grab some time with Oscar Espinosa prior to him starting in the kitchen. Chef Oscar filled me in on the new menu and I was excited to try some of the dishes. I'm going to point out here that I requested small tasting plates, as I was reviewing this one alone and I feel terribly guilty when I don't eat the full size meals.
It was a freezing cold night and I was glad to be inside with the South American decor and music. As I settled down, Daniel, who supervises the bar made me a delicious "Mocktail" - I'm doing Dry July so I had to pass on the wine! My Mocktail was so amazing that I couldn't really tell it was alcoholic. This delightful drink was made with chargrilled pineapple syrup, lime juice, orange juice, coconut cream and toasted coconut.
Speaking of cocktails if you head down to La Puerta and grab a cocktail made with Pisco you will be able to enter into a competition to win a $6,000 trip for two to Peru!. Pisco is a grape-based spirit from Peru. To make one bottle of Pisco you would need as many grapes that make four bottles of wine! Potent! This competition is run by Pisco People and closes 31st July 2016.
Now on to the food!
Pan Latino 10 (gf) Cassava flat cheese bread with smoked butter.
This was my first taste of smoked butter and OMG what a delight! The butter is smoked in-house and served with char-grilled flat bread. The smoked flavour is delicious.
Kiss Cheese 5 (gf) Pan fried queso fresco topped wiht kiss peppers salsa.
A beautiful haloumi styled dish, the peppers are made in-house and you can buy them by the jar. It seems they are such a hit the kitchen started to bottle them for guests to purchase and take home. These little peppers are both sour and sweet at the same time with a hint of a peppery bite! The pomegranate sauce finishes the dish off perfectly.
Prawn Casserole 28 (gf) Mooloolaba green prawns stirred on La Puerta's Guascas sauce, served with sweet potato chips. You will notice that al the dishes here are Gluten Free and in fact when I checked back over the menu the whole menu is Gluten Free!
Chef told me that these are the only prawns that he will use, they are very fresh and tasty. Apparently you could eat them raw but I wouldn't be up for that challenge, would you? This is a great winter dish full of flavour. Remember I only asked for small portions so this isn't an accurate serving size. The sauce uses that fabulous smoked butter I mentioned earlier.
This photo by Camila Espinosa 12 years old. (Chef's daughter)
Lomo Peruano 28 (gf) La Puerta's take on the traditional beef saltado with cassava croquettes, garnishes with crispy onions. This dish is fabulous, the croquettes are perfect to soak up the sauce which is made of yellow chilis but not hot. I was told this was as authentic a Peruvian dish as you can get!
This was my last meal that I ordered and by this time Chef's lovely wife Catherine and their two beautiful daughters came over to say hi, so I enjoyed my last part of the evening experiencing that wonderful South American hospitality. I discovered that Camila who is 12 loves photography so I invited her to take the last photo. I think she did a pretty good job!
Photos above via instagram.
I'd like to thank Oscar and Catherine for inviting me back as their guest. Please do read my full Disclaimer. My reviews are authentic and written about a genuine experience. I often do reviews on my own by choice.