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Food as Theatre – Kika Tapas

by Simon on March 31, 2010

A troupe of food bloggers, as well as Mei from Brasserie Bread, engage in a dialogue. Suggestions. Discussion. Indecision. Options. Sore feet. A spur of the moment decision.

The cast make their entrance onto the stage of Kika Tapas for a post-function, late night supper. Though seemingly a decision born from a minimal requirement for walking, as well as the availability of churros noted on the playbill of dishes by the restaurant’s entrance, it is one that I am glad we made.

There was one thing that I found quite striking about Kika Tapas. It was the welcome message (of sorts) at the beginning of the menu. I’m not sure how to adequately describe its purpose. It’s something of a mission statement, or perhaps a philosophy of the restaurant.

The message consists of a series of associations to theatre. It starts with Almondovar, as in Pedro Almodóvar Caballero, “arguably the most successful and internationally known Spanish filmmaker of his generation” (Wikipedia). Also, I would presume, the source of the restaurant’s name, based off the title of his 1993 film, Kika (IMDB).

Following, there are references to Spain, the Church (Spain being predominantly Roman Catholic), the Spanish monarchy, los toros (which I presume refers to bullfighting) and finally to aspects of the restaurant itself; the menu, the kitchen, the dining room. All of which, as with Almondovar, are associated with theatre.

You could take or leave the theatre metaphor as you see fit. However, one thing that was clear to me was a sense of nationalistic pride, one that seems to carry through to the tapas dishes we’d ordered. If the restaurant is theatre, what follows is the dramatis personae of that evenings rather impressive performance.

Huevos a la Flamenca ($12). An uncomplicated dish of eggs & chorizo cooked with a spicy tomato salsa. This dish, which made me think of breakfast more than a late night supper, was cooked to perfection with the eggs just set.

Pincho del Bosque ($17.50). The lamb and pear skewers in the foreground were a great example of how lamb skewers should be. Juicy,  smokey, meaty without being too lamby. The pears unfortunately seemed to only be there for show as they were hard as rocks and nigh on inedible.

Patatas Bravas ($10). Surprisingly for me, this was my favourite tapas dish of the impressive ensemble cast. The Sean Connery of The Untouchables, in that it’s billed as a supporting cast member in most people’s minds, however its performance outshone all the other dishes of the evening.

The deep-fried potatoes were fluffy & had a wonderful flavour to them without tasting greasy. The tomato salsa had a decent, spicy kick to it, whilst the creamy sauce served to temper its heat.

Churros ($11). The churros was good. Really good. In my mind, better than some you may find at so-called speciality churros stores. The finger-thick log was crunchy on the outside with something of a chewy centre. The chocolate sauce accompaniment was thick and rich. Likewise too with the sweet dulce de leche caramel sauce. If you’re feeling particularly indulgent, an additional churros will only set you back a further $3.

As the evening’s performance reaches its climax, we take our curtain call and exit the theatre, stage left. Were it not for a specific set of circumstances, I would have likely written this place off. Now that I know, it is certainly one that is deserving of an encore performance.

Kika Tapas
247 Victoria St, Darlinghurst
Ph: 02 9360 7865
5:30pm til late, 7 days.

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