You know I really really love restaurants where you get to share food. Mainly because it means I get to try more than just one meal and I have a more legitimate excuse for stealing off other people's plates...
It's also a great way to guard against food envy and menu remorse. You know that feeling, when you've ordered the thing that sounded super cool on paper, but on a plate, pales in comparison to your neighbour's choice.
Paddington's Simpatico (corner of La Trobe and Given Tce's) is a restaurant that caters for sharers and carers as almost everything you order can be shared. The prices are fairly reasonable too ($7.50 to $22) but you will need to order more than one dish per person.
A real highlight for me was the much talked up fried green olives with roast garlic mayonnaise.
I know, I know! Why have I only discovered deep fried olives now? Why has no one else in Brisbane thought of this? Marrying big fat rich briney green pitted olives with crumbed batter and deep frying the suckers?!? What an epiphany! My only complaint is that there weren't more of these delightful little things. I did manage to get my grubby hands on 2 of them before my eating companions had finished eating their first one...
And this is where I tried Ortiz anchovies for the first time. Again, where have these things been all my life? I know what you're thinking, lots of people don't like anchovies, but even if you don't like anchovies you need to try these little babies. They are big and meaty and more briney than the intensely fishy and hairy cheapies you get in Coles (although I do like them too). According to my Googling skills, they are fished only in the Mediterranean using a special purse seine net that prevents damage to the little fishies. They then cure them in rock salt and bone and tin them by hand.
The "mains" (which were also shared) were amazing too. The roast duck breast with du puy lentils, quince puree & beetroot chard was lovely but the real taste sensation was the slow roasted pork belly with green papaya & nam jim which had crunchy and delicious crackling on top! The braised beef cheek with polenta & honey glazed baby carrots (pictured) was also very very yummy.
I will definitely be back to this restaurant!