Simply Spanish5/18/2016 08:46:00 PM
|Simply Spanish, South Melbourne|
At the start of the year, I was invited to check out Simply Spanish. Sandra and I made a night of it, visiting the Bourke street branch and indulging in delicious tapas, sangria and paella. We hadn't visited a Simply Spanish before, and were really impressed. So last week, when my dad said he wanted paella for his birthday, we knew just where to take him. This post will cover both visits.
Simply Spanish Bourke Street
555 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Ph: (03) 9620-3332
The Bourke Street Simply Spanish is located in the courtyard of the 555 Bourke Street building, and seems to attract a corporate crowd, especially for Friday night drinks.
|Simply Spanish, CBD|
We just had to start the night with some sangria! Delicious.
|Sangria - $7.50 a glass|
Between the two of us, we ordered three tapas items and two individual paellas. Let's take a look!
|Jamon Serrano - Spanish dried-cured ham thinly sliced w/ bread, grated tomato + olive oil - $12.0|
The jamon serrano was excellent - it had a lovely soft texture and that perfect salty-sweet flavour. I also appreciated that it came with good bread and grated tomato with olive oil. One of my favourite Catalan / Spanish dishes is pa amb tomàquet / pan con tomate. It's a classic and I love it, but I don't seem to see it too often on menus in Melbourne, so it was a real treat to have it here.
|Chorizo in white wine - Pan seared Spanish chorizo sausage with kipfler potato, smoked paprika & white wine reduction - $14.50|
The chorizo in white wine was also very good. The smoky, spicy fat from the chorizo had melded in with the potatoes and was incredibly flavourful. I was definitely mopping up the juices with the bread! (As I understand it, chorizo in white wine is another classic tapas dish - if anyone has a recipe they're happy to share, please let me know!)
|Croquettes (2 per serve) - Croquettes w/ smoked chicken, squid ink + soft béchamel $8.00|
The croquettes were recommended by our waiter, and I'm really glad we ordered them. They were filled with a malevolently black mixture of squid ink, smoked chicken and soft bechamel, and were a great mix of smoky, creamy and crisp. Winner!
Simply Spanish serve a variety of paellas - seafood, meat, vegetarian. The only seafood paellas on the menu serve at least two people, so to keep seafood-avoider Sandra happy, we each ordered a single-serve non-seafood paella. Just to let you know, the portions of the paellas are very generous. So if you wanted to share a few tapas items beforehand, you could easily share a single-serve paella between two.
|Roasted Mushroom Paella - Mushroom + spinach paella w/ parmesan + truffle oil - $22.00|
The roasted mushroom paella was impressive, with a generous amount of mushrooms throughout the rice. I'm not a huge fan of fennel, and was worried that the blanket of finely-shaved fennel might be a bit overpowering, but mild anisey flavour actually complimented the earthy mushrooms really well.
|Braised Chicken Paella - $22|
Closer to a classic flavour profile was the braised chicken paella with a smoky tomato base.
For both paellas, the rice grains were cooked perfectly, with just enough bite in them. I would have preferred it if there had been more of a pronounced socarrat (the crispy rice on the base of the pan), but overall they were very good and had a great depth of flavour. We were sadly, too full for dessert, but really enjoyed all the savoury dishes that we had eaten. We were definitely more than happy to visit again, on our own coin, for my Dad's birthday.
Simply Spanish South Melbourne
South Melbourne Market
116 Cecil Street
South Melbourne, VIC 3205
Ph: (03) 9682-6100
For this dinner, we decided to visit the South Melbourne branch as we knew it would be easier for parking than the CBD. The South Melbourne store was a little smaller than the CBD one, and was reasonably quiet on the Friday night we went - I imagine its peak times are when the market is open!
|Simply Spanish South Melbourne|
The menu at the South Melbourne branch is quite different to the Bourke street one, so we got to try a few new dishes. (Sadly no jamon serrano at South Melbourne!)
|Sautéed Garlic Mushrooms - Mushrooms sautéed with new season leeks & Australian garlic, finished with a drizzle of Tasmanian truffle oil - $12.50|
The sautéed garlic mushrooms were very tasty, with just the right amount of garlic and truffle oil. I liked the mixture of different mushroom varieties. (Especially the long enoki mushrooms!)
|Mini Empanadas - Beef and cheese filled parcels served with a chimichurri salsa - $12.50|
The mini empanadas were crispy fried little pastry pockets filled with a smoky beef mixture, and I really liked the punchy chimichurri salsa that accompanied it.
|Pan-fried calamari - pan fried whole baby calamari, with fresh lemon & herb infused olive oil dressing - $13.50|
We really loved the calamari - it was very fresh, and cooked perfectly, so that it was still tender. Highly recommend ordering this dish!
Remembering the generous portions, we ordered a single-serve non-seafood paella for Sandra, and my parents and I shared the gourmet provincial Spanish paella, which "serves 2".
|Chicken & Chorizo Paella - Tender chicken cooked with chorizo in saffron infused short grain rice - $21.00|
|Gourmet Provincial Spanish (Minimum 2 serves) - Classic Spanish style paella. Australian prawns, shellfish, & boneless chicken pieces cooked with smoked chorizo in traditional Spanish paella pan - $42.50|
My parents and I absolutely loved the classic paella - all smoky tomato and chorizo, with so much seafood! Huge prawns, juicy mussels and tender squid. It was very rich, and, as suspected, the "2 serves" easily served three of us.
This paella was exactly what my dad had been craving - hooray! Definitely recommend Simply Spanish for a nice meal or when you want to get your fix of Spanish flavours!
Sarah and Sandra dined at Simply Spanish Bourke Street as guests, and visited Simply Spanish South Melbourne as paying customers