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Subsolo Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar

2009 March 17

subsolo_ext*squeals with delight* At last I can bring you evidence of one of my fave meals I’ve had recently. I brought my boyfriend here recently for his birthday and to make it a little special left all photographic equipment at home. Halfway through the meal sensing my excitement at how good everything was, and how frustrated I was in not being able to record it, he offered me his iphone to take pics with. I refused, only because the camera is so crap! But luckily for me, I had opportunity to go back and try some of the dishes I missed out on on my previous visit, and take photos!

In August I’ll be hosting a conference, and had been scouting locations for the conference dinner. I was stumped. I have a limited budget and wanted it to be a little different and special. After speaking with colleagues who work in events and figuring how much we could afford, it dawned on me! Subsolo! Spanish tapas, gorgeous space, funky, cool and a bit unusual and somewhere out of towners may never get to go to…Perfect!

After making the requisite inquiries, it is all booked in. Very kindly, Richard Nichols, co-owner of the restaurant invited us to lunch to sample the menu and service. I was thrilled!

So last week I made sure I had a light breaky and myself and my colleague headed to King St to get stuck in!

Subsolo occupies the entire basement of the building on the corner of Elizabeth and King St. Formerly occupied by Peter Conistis’s Omega. The space is vast, but cleverly divided into small areas with key lighting, screens and drapes.


Richard offers us a tasting of the matching wines that will be served at our dinner, but we decline knowing full well that the combo of wine and the food that was coming would wipe us out for the rest of the day! We are served a degustation menu with a couple of variations…

First to land on our table is the roasted spanish olives with jamon serrano…


I’ve never had proper serrano ham/jamon, and I was blown away by how good this was..tasted nothing like your standard ham! the olives were meaty and not over salted, and lovely and warm..

Next up was the bacalao croquettes on aioli…Another dish I didn’t get to try at boyfriend’s birthday dinner as he doesn’t eat seafood…I was super keen for these:


Crispy crumbed exterior with not a hint of oiliness. They wasn’t as salty as I expected them to be for salted fish! Richard explained how the bacalao comes to the restaurant in blocks and has to be soaked thoroughly, but not too much, to strip off the pieces of bacalao off and rehydrate for use.

Next up a vegetable course! Pimientos Rellenos, Goats Cheese & Pinenuts…in English: capsicum stuffed with goats cheese and of the highlights of the meal…disappointing though that the pimientos are imported, I’m sure they could find someone here to produce them?


Next up more meat, and one  of my boyfriend’s faves! So much so, he orderd two servings! These delicious meatballs with melting Manchego cheese centres served with a romesco sauce are moreish, and surprisingly rich…


To get a taste of some of the vegetarian offerings we also received the field mushrooms topped with Pistachio & Currant Couscous…no veggie can complain about this morsel or the capsicums stuffed with goats cheese!


And the food kept coming! Yay! Another dish I didn’t get to try with the boyfriend was the chorizo…so good!


The apple & cucumber yogurt served with the chorizo was the perfect foil, the sweetness and acidity cutting the rich smokiness of the sausage perfectly..could’ve eaten this all day with a large bottle of wine all to myself!

And still more food, can you believe it! This divine lamb came with a minted fig salsa resting on pureed chickpeas..


Finally we’re getting there..tell me, you want to come to our conference now, huh?

And now, the piece de resistance! Espetadas! What, pray tell are Espetadas? Imagine, pieces of meat on swords and grilled slowly then brought to your table, still cooking, with juices flowing, served with a batatas bravas (portuguese stylee!), a salad and some zucchini! Oh my! Don’t imagine, check it out…


These are such great value, as on the a la carte menu the espetadas all come with the sides…making a full meal for 1-2 people for about $35 depending on what you choose.

Ah finally, the end of the mains…a tummy rest then dessert…

For dessert for our conference we were going to get just the one, but after the tasting we’re doing an alternate drop as really, who wouldn’t want churros filled with dulce de leche or alternatively Crema Catalan? Lucky for us, as per the standard menu we got our crema catalan bruleed at our table, setting off the aroma of caramelised sugar wafting around our table…


The aftermath:


We did finish most of the creme catalan, but bombed on the churros!

Subsolo, is both perfect for large groups, with wonderful booths that fit up to 6-8 people, as well as romantic dinners. Service is exceptional, as is value in these price conscious times. There are a number of set menus that allow you to sample widely. There is also a great cocktail menu! For boyfiend’s birthday we had

  • two cocktails
  • 2 beers
  • glass of wine
  • 4 tapas
  • 1 beef espetada
  • 2 desserts
  • coffee
  • tip

All for $200. Great value in my book.

161 King Street
02 9223 7000
Subsolo on Urbanspoon
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9 Responses leave one →
  1. March 17, 2009

    Oh my gosh, reading this now reminds me of how much there was! I can’t believe we ate all that!

    Looking forward to the conference dinner, I think it’s going to be a special treat especially for those traveling from afar.

  2. March 17, 2009

    @ Diana Me too! It was huge! But oh so tasty! Should be heaps of fun..

  3. March 17, 2009

    Muy excelente! The degustation is a great idea because I never know how big the tapas are going to be and always under or over order. Glad you made it back with your camera.

  4. March 18, 2009

    I’d like to sign up for that conference please! I’m not bothered what it’s about if this is the food for the conference dinner 🙂

  5. March 20, 2009

    Oh yummmm I’ll have to kee this place in mind for a group outing!

  6. March 20, 2009

    The sauce that goes with the chorizo sounds awesome. Oh and I love sides, grilled/bbq meat always needs sides.

    And that is awesome how they caramalise your creme brulee on your table, that’s the first I’ve seen it done like that anywhere.

  7. March 25, 2009

    I love tapas! Would happily eat any of those dishes – especially those yummy meaty ones. Do they always brulee at the table, or was it specially for you?

  8. March 25, 2009

    @ Y They do brulee at the table for everyone! But obviously with our conference they won’t be able to

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