I am fascinated by Spain including the food, culture and Rafael Nadal. I have spoken of my Barcelona experiences with paella and the confusing question of whether there should be a crust on the bottom (see treat 4 ). Well guess what there is a name for it, la soccarat is the crust of rice on the bottom of the Paella pan. Yes another google moment from me. Barcelona was not a fan of the la soccarat and neither was Spanish Flavours, this cute little Spanish restaurant in Mount Hawthorn. I stumbled upon Spanish Flavours because I was early (for once in my life) for a hairdresser appointment. It is a café/restaurant and during the day has a store with wonderful imported Spanish produce. I got distracted for a good half hour staring at the shelves and was excited to see Yerba Mate on the shelves. Yerba Mate is like the South American equivalent of green tea and gives you more energy than coffee. It’s great for 3.30itis. After having trouble finding it I got overexcited and bought a kilo of the stuff. Unbeknownst to me my brother had bought the same tea from T2. It’s easier to find than I thought. My friend Theresa works in Christmas Island and so doesn’t get an amazing spread of cuisines like we do here in Perth. She was craving tapas and I took the opportunity to try out Spanish Flavours. They have two pages of tapas to choose from, slightly more authentic then some of the offerings at Gypsy Tapas (See Treat 47 ). We decided to pick an item of tapas to share:
• Mushrooms sautéed in garlic and white wine
• Meatballs soaked in tomato sauce
• Spinach croquettes
The mushrooms were a favourite across the table. Mushrooms and garlic are a match made in heaven. The empanadillas had a nice pastry crunch and the beef filling was nicely flavoured. The spinach croquettes were delicious and I happily went for seconds. I was torn between choosing the meatballs or the stuffed capsicums but the decision was made for me because the latter had sold out. Those meatballs were amazeballs. I think I forget how much I love mince. One of my favourite Lebanese dishes is kafta, which is like a mince patty flavoured with herbs, garlic and onion. These meatballs were complimented by a tomato sauce and were full of flavour. My pet peeve is when mince, which has quite a bit of fat in it ends up being dry and lacklustre. This was not the case here. We started filling up and were regretting the fourth tapas option because of the huge serving of the paella. Now they usually charge $27 per serve per person. If you are a table of four you only need two serves and you will still have leftovers. I was impressed by the seafood quantity. I hate seeing seafood paella with only one or two prawns. This had enough prawns for about two each. They weren’t the big prawns; they were small and in the shell. I just went for it and ate the prawn shell and all. I was slightly disappointed that frozen vegetables were used. Considering we were paying over $50 for this dish I thought they would be able to use fresh vegetables. I don’t mind frozen peas but this paella was given the mixed vegetable treatment. The square carrots were the giveaway. Now back to the contentious issue of the rice crust at the bottom of the pan. This had a slight crust but not to the level that Miguel showed us on Masterchef. Overall, this was such an enjoyable meal. Fantastic service and cute décor make you feel like you are in a hole in the wall in Spain. I will definitely be back. But not for the yerba mate as I barely have made a dent in my kilo bag.
THE FOOD JOURNEY