This time last year we were in Europe touring around France, Italy and Spain. I think that on our recent weekend in Sydney, we were trying to recreate our trip through food. I relived France through macarons, Italy through two Italian restaurants and Spain through lunch at Velero at Woolloomooloo. We arrived for an early lunch as we had a 6pm sitting for dinner that night. It turns out midday is a good time to arrive without a booking. We had pick of the tables and chose one right out the front with a great view of the passing parade. Let me tell you, Sunday at Woolloomooloo is great for people watching.
I went straight to the Jamon Serano for entree number one. It was very tasty and I even tried a pickle. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be, just crunchy and quite salty.
The only negative of our lunch was the bread. Not the bread itself, it was light and fluffy and a little warm and the perfect accompaniment to the jamon, my issue was that we were given the bread without ordering it and then charged for it. I know it’s only $2.50 but I’m very against being charged for anything that I didn’t order.
We went for the dishes that screamed Spain to me so the second entree was empanadillas. The pastry was crunchy and perfectly cooked and the filling was delicious.
Now I have to give mum credit before I mention the paella that we ordered. Mum makes a fantastic paella that definitely compares to the one we ordered. The waiter told us the secret is the way the rice caramelizes on the bottom of the paella that really brings out the flavour. He also told us some people have sent it back because it was ‘burnt.’ Oh how embarrassed you would be to learn that it’s not burnt but cooked to perfection.
We chose the seafood paella that also came with chicken. It was a very generous serve for two people and we definitely got our money’s worth. The dish was very flavourful and the calamari was tender (which is a big deal – it’s often chewy in a dish like this).
The clouds had started to roll in and it was getting a little chilly outside so I ordered a green tea to warm me up. The tea was tea leaves not a bag which always wins points with me. I really despise being charged $4 for a 5 cent tea bag.
They almost earned back all their negative points from charging us for the bread with the two little cookies that came out with my tea. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the flavour but they were sweet and yummy.
Now I don’t know about you but to me a trip to Spain isn’t complete without indulging in churros. These doughnut-like treats are fantastic and the Velero version was no exception. The dough was cooked perfect and nicely drowned in sugar and cinnamon and the thick chocolate sauce was bitter and delightful. I saw Nigella make these on Nigella Kitchen the other day and I can’t wait to have a go at home.
Charging for the bread aside, we very much enjoyed our lunch at Velero and I’d definitely recommend it.
Velero is located on the finger wharf at Woolloomooloo and is open for lunch and dinner Monday to Sunday and serves light tapas between lunch and dinner.