I’ve always been curious about how the food is at Subsolo, which is just around the corner from my office and serves up Spanish dishes (one of my fave cuisines). Part of the curiosity stems from the fact that I have never been able to work out the vibe of the place as it’s in a basement and you can’t see much from it’s small street entrance. But if you venture down those steps, you’ll find yourself in an elegant, yet somewhat sensual restaurant that fits the Spanish theme with moody lighting, plush furniture and exotic drapings for their booths up the back.
Their menu is quite extensive, so we decide to stick to the basics by going for 3x tapas and a paella to share.We started off with the biggest Cheesy Manchego Croquettes I’ve ever seen, although they’re a bit deceptive as each ball isn’t completely filled with manchego cheese, but rather the croquettes are crispy on the outside and quite airy on the inside. The small dollop of aioli on each croquette is a nice touch of flavour and there’s a bit of chilli on top too for extra heat.
Croquetas de Manchego, $14 (3 pieces)
I have a weakness for Patatas Allioli a.k.a fried potatoes with aioli, so of course I had to order that to try. Subsolo’s rendition is tasty for the first few mouthfuls, with the crispy fried potato cubes going well with the strong garlic flavours in the creamy aioli, but after a while the flavours get a bit overwhelming. It would have been good if there was a spicy tomato sauce with the aioli to cut through all the garlic.
Patatas Allioli, $10
My favourite tapas of the night was the Garlic Prawns in Creamy White Wine Sauce. The prawns weren’t actually that garlicky, but were firm and soaked up the addictive creamy white wine sauce, which wasn’t too rich or overpowering, but seasoned just right. We mopped up the rest of the sauce with the white bread served with it on the sides long after the prawns were all gone. I thought the dish was a bit pricey though, for the serving size.
Gambas al Ajillo en Salsa de Verdejo, $22
For the Paella, we settled on the Valenciana because we couldn’t choose between chicken, pork or seafood since the Valenciana has all three. I have to admit that I was initially a bit disappointed by the size of the Paella, as for the price I was expecting a larger dish. But don’t let that small pan fool you – it’s actually quite deep and we soon found out why they recommended that the Paella is shared between 2 people as a main course as we quickly became quite full. The Paella was well seasoned, with the herbs and spices infused into the rice and a good amount of the mixed meats and seafood (small mussels, pippies and calamari) scattered throughout the dish.
Valenciana Paella, $42
Of course, no Spanish meal is complete without a glass of Sangria to wash it all down. I enjoyed the Sub Sangria, which was light and refreshing, featuring Havana Club Blanco, some curacao, sweet vermouth, Tempranillo, lemonade and served with a nice mix of seasonal fruits. DK on the other hand opted to try the ‘Mayador’, a Spanish apple cider which was quite crispy in flavour and not as sweet as what we’re accustomed to.
Sub Sangria, $15
Mayador Rosee ES, $8
All in all, Subsolo is one of the nicert Spanish restaurants I’ve been to in Sydney in terms of decor and ambience, but you do pay a premium for the luxe surroundings – although to be fair, Spanish is generally quite an expensive cuisine in Sydney.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Subsolo.
161 King Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph:(02) 9223 7000