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Tregan Borg reviews: Nomada Y Tapas, Fitzroy

Nomada Y Tapas
412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
www.nomada.com.au

Depending on who you are, tapas for breakfast may seem absurd!

If you’re anything like me, the time of day is an insignificant point, and not getting in the way of me and good grub!

The thought of a tapas breakfast transports me right back to my travels in Spain when there was never a time restriction on devouring a padron pepper or bread smeared with sardine and cheese.

The brainchild of four hospo heavyweights, Jesse Garner (Bomba, Anada) Jesse McTavish (Kettle Black), Greg McFarland (also ex Kettle Black) along with Michael Burr (five years Chin Chin) bring their foodie and travel expertise to the old Hammer & Tong site in the form of Nomada Y Tapas.

The new décor is warm, food Spanish at heart, savoury-centric with sweet scattered throughout.

You can opt for a small, moderate or large meal, with set prices of $5, $9, $15 & $19.

A cheffy mate gave me the heads up on the clacked egg.

What on earth is a clacked egg?! The dictionary defines clacked as “a sharp sound as the result of a hard object striking another”.

When I asked the waiter exactly what a clacked egg was, he quickly ducked to the kitchen and returned to the table with a funny looking kitchen device.

This fancy gadget, more lovingly known as the “clacker” removes the top of the egg in a razor sharp circle.

By doing this, you can remove the eggy contents leaving an aseptically appeasing shell.  It’s all about the theatre really.

Served on a bed of smoking hay, the yolk is gently cooked (so it’s runny) and returned to the shell (minus the whites) with the addition of mahon cheese, jamon, wild rice, potato sauce with a finishing touch of grated cured egg yolk on top.

Two teaspoons later and it tasted very much like fancy bacon and eggs.  For $5 it’s a clever dish and pretty good talking point.

At only $9 the Bullhorn relleno, celery powder and lime mayonnaise is a bang for your buck dish.

Relleno translates to “stuffed pepper” – I may have done a cheeky google search on this one.

A long red pepper, stuffed with oozy cheese, tempura battered for a light and crispy texture, smeared with lime mayo was a delight to eat.

Blue eye croquettas were necessary (when in Spain right?)  The fishy flavour of the blue was light mixed with a super smooth potato filling, crumbed evenly, and fried a beautiful golden.  A perfectly balanced croquetta.

I could have eaten ten…

A bigger dish of Flinders saltgrass lamb on coals, tomato with a yoghurt eggplant, garlic puree ($19) easy to share.

The fillet of lamb sliced, cooked rare over coals, with the accompaniment of smokey whole eggplant.

Blistered Padron peppers ($5), you know the ones where one in eight is super-hot?

Were a nice side dish to the Flinders lamb.

A twist on the traditional Crème Catalan comes in the form of fried bread, soaked in a sweet vanilla custard and sangria, topped with poached and freeze dried fruits ($15).

Pumpkin porridge, almond milk, PX (that’s shorthand for pedro ximenez Spanish sherry) and maple ($15) is my number one excuse to return.

There was a lot I would go back for that I just didn’t have the tummy space to fit in.

Despite the food involving a fair bit of fancy technique (fermentation, dehydration, and sous vide waterbaths) it’s not pretentious on the plate, which is clever cooking…nobody likes a show off.

The food was surprisingly inexpensive.  You could easily choose five dishes at $5, be a happy and full camper, at a very economical $25.

Offering a tapas breakfast, one would expect there’s no restriction on when you can consume an alcoholic beverage.

Options are minimal, but carefully chosen, with a focus on Spanish producers, and handpicked sherries.

We didn’t have to wait for a table which is always a bonus, but not sure how long this will last as I make a prediction that this place will become a Melbourne fav.

If you’re not quite ready to accept that tapas for breakfast is a thing, Nomada opened for dinner last night.

With some variations to the menu I am pretty confident the expanded menu will be delicious as it’s daytime counterpart.

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