An Instagram post enticed us again this week when it came time to select the restaurant from our eatery list. Jah Bar hit the nail on the head with their post “step out of the cold & into our restaurant. Tapas special tonight is any 4 tapas + a (selected) bottle of red or white wine, or jug of sangria or beer for just $65 for two”. Don’t mind if we do! Our friends Jenny & Simon also wanted to get in on the Darley Days mission dinner tonight and both had not been to the Jah Bar yet. PERFECTO! The Hubby & I can’t remember exactly when we went last but it was well over two years ago so it would be a fresh and new experiences for all of us to take part in. We were on our way after a meet-up drink at the Steyne first.
It was particularly chilli this Thursday night and there were no brave souls sitting outside the front of the restaurant but it was packed inside. We were seated at the front in a cosy corner inside booth. We were amused to see the outside heater inside keeping us nice and toasty, a fireplace in the sky type of feel.
When we looked at the menu, we were pretty set to take up the special we had seen on Instagram and just double it. It was two bottles of red wine kinda of night after all! The waitress was very sweet and friendly and also explained that since there were four of us the set menu might work as well. For instance, some of the tapas like the zucchini flowers come as three on a plate but if we wanted to add an extra flower for the fourth person it would be an additional charge, whereas the set menu would make sure each tapas plate catered to the four of us perfectly. Interesting. There are three set menus to select from, the $45, $55 or $65 per head option and while we did have a look to see if it would be a better option for us, we noticed that drinks weren’t included…so we went with the special and doubled it. Like I said it was a two bottles of red wine kinda night, he he! I also noted and loved to see that all food at Jah Bar is sustainable and free range and meat and seafood are sourced from local providers and suppliers.
We had 8 tapas to select out of 12 on offer and all easily agreed on Leche de Tigre: snapper and scallop ceviche with control C pisco, Fish Tacos (serve of 4): line caught snapper cured in tequila & lime, Zucchini Flowers (serve of three): goats cheese and polenta, Leek & Manchego Croquetas, Sticky Cider Glazed Chorizo: with toasted picada nuts, Calameres Fritos: fried Hawkesbury calamari with chilli jam, Scallops & Pork Cheeks (serve of 3): sweet corn and crunchy ham, Albondigas: spanish meat balls in spicy bravas sauce with grilled bread. Our order was in!
The wonderful thing about tapas is how it enhances a dining experience with friends. The nature of sharing small dishes together also complements the table conversation to sharing experiences and stories. Plus with more people the more tasty dishes you get to try from the kitchen too, DOUBLE BONUS!
The Croquetas and Zucchini Flowers came out first and because I was so consumed in conversation, I didn’t even notice that 4 flowers came out instead of the normal serve of 3. I had it in my mind that I would split one with The Hubby and give our Darley Days guests one each. After all Jenny declared herself a Z-flower obsessor and I didn’t find it necessary to order a fourth just so we could all have one each. Although after tasting what might have been my first Z-flower, I can’t recall every having one before, I could see why you would want one of these morsels of yumminess all to yourself. I love cheese and when you put the saltiness of goats cheese with a battered and fried zucchini it is certainly more-ish! Only when it came time to write the blog did I learn from The Hubby that he had advised the waitress to make sure there was four of everything for each tapas plate, HILARIOUS! I wonder who ate the extra half of the Zucchini Flower…SIMOOOOON!
The Croquetas were perfectly fried and a nice plump generous size too. Leek and manchego is an easy winning combination and these little guys just went down the hatch without blinking and allowed me to get straight back into chatting.
The Ceviche and Fish Tacos followed and actually did interrupt our conversation. Those Fish Tacos were like none you have ever tried and certainly the highlight dish of the evening. In fact we ordered a second plate adding 9 tapas plates to our ‘8 plate special’ because they were that good! The freshness of the snapper in the cured flavours of tequila and lime on top of guacamole and caramelised onions made our tastebuds stand up and “dance like no one was watching”. I mean seriously, WOW. But it was the taco shell that pulled it all together to make the disco lights shimmer. We learned that the taco shell is actually a dumpling wrapper deep fried with a weight holding it down to give it the taco shape. BOYAH!
Our first Darley Days dinner mission with friends was such a lovely, tasty and fun experience. I found myself engrossed in conversation and laughter, and the tapas style food from Jah Bar certainly enhanced and complemented the evening perfectly. All the dishes that came out were well prepared and delicious and each of us preferred some over others, as you do with different preferences. But there was not a dish left with food on it, we enjoyed each tapas plate and can not rave enough about those fish tacos…i mean disco dancing tastebuds is what it is all about… woot woot!