Sydney’s favourite rockabilly chef duo, Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate, have done it again at Porteño, working their own brand of cool on the old Dimitri’s restaurant on Cleveland Street, Surry Hills — it’s only claim to fame was a sign that sat outside for years saying ‘official wrap party location for Moulin Rouge’. Um, ok.
Abrahanowicz’s Argentinian heritage and the duo’s ballsy style has transformed this sprawling location into hacienda cool, with marble-topped tables, rendered walls and black accents. The crowning glory here is the asador, a South American torture chamber-looking device that’s responsible for the toothsome, smokey, bbq smells that pervade the restaurant.
Order the suckling pig: the head of which is served to the table with a knife through the eye. Other wins include veal sweetbreads – sticky, salty and tender pieces of goodness – and fried Brussels sprouts that are caramel golden on the outside, with a nutty texture that dares you to rethink everything you know about this largely misunderstood vegetable. Wash it all down with a jug of sangria or a Spanish apple cider.