Food and Drink
Posted by Amelia Moulis
14. Oct, 2013
Don’t be deterred by the address: Bar Nacional is Docklands by name but not by nature. The Spanish tapas bar is the first of five restaurants to hit the precinct, the culmination of a joint venture between Collins Square developer Lang Walker, My Kitchen Rules chef Pete Evans and Gavin Baker, previously of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck, Jean-Jacques Rachou’s La Cote Basque and most recently Little Hunter. Yet even Baker admits his first reaction was “what the hell are you thinking, it’s Docklands!”
Baker and Evans, after travelling together through San Sebastian, created a menu born from the casual Basque bars they found along the way. The duo enlisted those at the top of their game from Alex Drobysz of David Boulud’s Singapore outpost to Jo Barrett from MoVida Bakery, and St ALi coffee director Tom Beaumont. The resulting menu lists charcuteria of spicy chorizo, jamon cured for 36 months and tapas standouts of oysters with jamon vinaigrette ($3.5 each), and duck and chicken liver parfait on toasted brioche ($12).
Beyond the tapas, Nacional’s raciones – larger sharing plates – are also hard to look past with crisp pork belly on compressed pear, and blue cod cooked on oak in the woodfire oven, as well as after-dinner postres of bacon salted maize caramel. The accompanying drinks list runs from sangria and cocktails through a range of beers to largely European wines and even further to liqueurs.
After being open for two weeks, as Gavin Baker comments, Bar Nacional has “gone over like hotcakes”: great for a long afternoon lunch or a post-work haunt. Just a stone’s throw from Southern Cross Station, it’s sure to lure food lovers south of Spencer.
727 Collins St, Docklands
Mon – Fri 8am – 9pm
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