Hola! Jo quiro la comida de Espanol! (Hi! I love Spanish food!).
Ok that’s as far as my Spanish brain is going today. I do happen to know a bit of the language thanks to my Spanish aunt and uncle, Spanish-speaking mother and a year’s worth of Spanish at uni but I’m much better at understanding it than speaking it.
Luckily Spanglish or just plain old English is all that’s needed to enjoy a fabulous Spanish feast in Brisbane.
Last week I was invited along to Ole Spanish Restaurant at Southbank and treated to a seriously indulgent fiesta. It seems we were a bit ahead of ourselves with our family-style of food at our wedding. The shared meal is coming into fashion in Brisbane and I love it.
To me, being able to have a little bit of lots of things is much more exciting (and less stressful) than having to choose just one meal for myself. Plus it’s a lot more casual and seems to make for a more relaxed occasion.
Ole even makes the meal decisions for you with their very generous Fiesta menus which start at $38 per person. We were treated to the Fiesta Grande (I made that name up but it was huge) which would normally cost $58 p/h.
I’ll be honest, at some places I’m really not into the ‘banquet.’ Usually you end up with a not-so-good selection of food and I really think it would cost a lot less to just order it all separately.
At Ole that is not the case. You get to sample a huge selection of their menu and not one item is mediocre. Another thing I love about set menus… no arguing over the bill. Everyone just puts in their share.
Onto the food. Hope you’re settled in because there was A LOT of food. Not that I’m complaining, I’ll never complain about a lot of food. Yes this is cheese, yes it’s deep fried, yes it was every bit as gooey, cheesy and tasty as you can imagine and then some.
I’ve had patatas bravas in Spain and the simple dish is one of my favourites but these were quite amazing. I think I single-handedly ate a good 40% of this bowl. I don’t know what they put on the potatoes but they were so moreish I just couldn’t stop.
I’m a sucker for pretty serving ware so you know I was rather taken by the pretty Spanish tiles selected dishes came on. Isn’t that a great idea? I’ll have to keep my eye out for some.
The jamon serano was salty and delicious but I wasn’t a huge fan of the bread. My aunt in Spain says that the Spanish like dry-type breads so this was just traditional I guess. It was just a little too dry for my liking.
I can still remember about 10 years ago on my first stip to Spain, we were in the south in Malaga and went to lunch with my aunt and uncle. Mum ordered chanquetes. I didn’t know what they were but when the teeny tiny fried fish came out I was rather grossed out. Mum absolutely loves them but I still can’t bare the thought of eating a whole fish in one bite.
The calamari on the other hand, happily devoured it. It was tender and lightly crumbed.
By the end of the night my plate looked like an olive grave yard there were so many pips covering it. I can’t stop with olives and the big green ones were so crunchy and fruity.
My absolute hands-down favourite of the night was the beef cheeks. After a mortifying beef-cheek failure at home (I’ll tell you about it on another occasion), I have a new-found respect for anyone who can cook them to be so tender you could eat them with a spoon. In fact a spoon would be much easier as they fell apart with the gentlest touch and hardly stayed on your fork. The meat was so very sweet (in a good way) the only thing that could have made it better was a bit of mash but that’s probably not very Spanish (how very ocker of me).
Did you just scroll down looking for the dessert? It might shock you to know that there was none. I was so incredibly full, as was everyone, there was just no room. Should you have a bottomless-pit for a stomach (or have done some stomach prep – I failed on that) you can add dessert to any menu for an additional $5 per head. It’s well worth it for churros and ice-cream I think.
So the verdict? I had a fabulous night with great food and good company. Ole’s giant bench tables are perfect for big groups while their little tables cater to smaller parties. The food is delicious, the setting casual and fun and the prices reasonable. Just be wary of the parking lot across the road. $30 on a Saturday night is not exactly a bargain!
What about you? Do you speak another language? What do you think of the shared meal?
Ole is open for breakfast on the weekends (Spanish breakfast feast anyone?) and lunch and dinner every day. It is located at Shop B12, Little Stanley Street, Southbank.
Claire K Creations dined as a guest of Ole Restaurant. Restaurant images are courtesy of Ole as bad blogger Claire was having such a good time she forgot to take photos of her surroundings.