Food and Drink
Posted by Dan Kuseta
12. Jun, 2012
Often a restaurant tries to weave a narrative around itself that’s more spin that special – Bohemian is not such a place. The new Spanish restaurant at South Wharf is a testing ground not just for the public’s appetite for interesting food in an untested location, but for head chef Josep Espuga’s imagination.
The two-Michelin star Spanish chef, originally from Oliana in Catalonia, was working in New York when he saw an opening at a Spanish restaurant in Melbourne. He applied on a whim, and three months later found himself stepping off at Tullamarine. While the view from South Wharf mightn’t be as bustling as NYC, Espuga has thrown himself into this new gig with both guns blazing.
The affable Spaniard sees his country’s cuisine as a mix of ‘thousand year old recipes’ and the cutting edge wizardry from Ferran Adria and co. He wants to steer Bohemian between these worlds.
His menu offers traditional Spanish dishes – tortillas, croquettes, paella – but slam dunks them with a twist. For example the suckling pig is cooked over 14 hours, then the skin is taken off, the beast de-boned and the skin crisped again. Served with a carrot ice-cream, it’s Espuga’s take on a hog served with a carrot in its mouth (a Spanish tradition).
In between experimenting with local ingredients, Espuga is now working on his winter menu and when I visit he was preparing his own lamb bacon (!)
With its graf art exterior, Bohemian feels like it belongs more in a city laneway than in South Wharf. Still, it’s nice being on the river and seeing a new side of Melbourne. Worth the journey. For lamb bacon and more.
35 Dukes Walk, South Wharf
Mon to Sat, 11am until late
Sun 12 noon – 5pm
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