When I was offered a voucher for two to eat at Cantina Bar and Grill, I must admit that I got excited. I love love LOVE tapas, and I had never eaten on Oxford Street before. How cool was this going to be?
There were some glitches getting there - we're not very familiar with driving in the city, and we almost ended up in North Sydney, but when we finally found parking and walked uphill for 20 minutes, we found the restaurant sitting in front of us like a beacon of hope for our weary feet and grumbling stomachs.
We got there a little bit late at 7pm, but we were welcomed warmly and quickly shown to a table - we were the only ones there. By 7.30pm the place had started to fill up some, but the atmosphere was still very cosy and intimate; the dark wood, neutral walls and candlelight all lend an air of elegance. Our hostess was lovely - she had answers to all of our questions about the dishes, and was polite and friendly.
The deal: Three share plates, churros and glass of wine or Sangria for $45 (value $119)
We were served our free glass of sangria straight away. The sangria was refreshingly light and sweet, but not cloying. The red wine came through, but was tempered by the sweetness of apple and pineapple, and it had a very light fizz.
This cheese plate was a dish that succeeded in being simple, elegant and well put-together. It featured a well-developed manchego (sheep's milk cheese) that had a lovely buttery texture and a slight, sharp aftertaste, and a soft, slightly salty goat's cheese. It also included sliced apple, a sweet quince paste, crispy lavosh, raisins, and pickled capsicum. It's a simple dish that's been done many a time before, but it was done well.
The wagyu beef was prepared in a manner reminiscent of prosciutto, aged and then sliced into very thin strips. It was served with a poached egg, parmesan cheese, and rocket leaves. It wasn't what we were expecting when we ordered it, but I enjoyed it very much.
The salad was also beautifully done - the sweetness of the beetroot came through due to the roasting, and went well with the mild goat's cheese dressing. The salad included peppery rocket leaves and crunchy, roasted walnuts.
These were a favourite, and we ordered them seperately from the deal when we spied the specials board. The crumbed outside was fried to crispy perfection, and the inside was filled with plump, cheesy rice and slightly salty, rich Jamon Iberico. It came with a sharp gorgonzola sauce.
The churros were a lot darker and crispier than I'm used to, and I have a feeling the oil was too hot, because the inside was just a tad gluey. However, they were tasty, and the dulche de leche it came with was thick and sweet.
Our experience here was a good one, and both Stephen and I feel that we would eat here again without a voucher, because of the quality of the food and the great service. It's a great way to start a night out on the town, or to end a day of shopping.
JasmyneTea dined as a guest of OurDeal.
Cantina Bar and Grill
245 Oxford St
Phone: 02 9357 3033