MELBOURNE | Last week I was lucky enough to attend the San Sebastian Summer Fiesta at Bar Nacional, a Spanish restaurant located in Collins Square. My invitation included pintxos, paella and sweet dishes from the restaurants’ culinary team. An unlimited supply of house-made sangria and wine were served to compliment the menu, all of which were chosen by Group Sommelier Jeff Salt.
Throughout the evening we were invited to taste a range of pintxos (small bites). These started off with cold tapas, such as jamon serrano with green pepper, honey fig with blue cheese and boquerones, olives and citrus. Presented traditionally on thin slices of crusty baguette bread, each provided a tasty burst of Spanish flavour.
The first of the hot dishes to emerge from the kitchen were crispy zucchini flowers, filled with aioli and bacalao, followed by broccoli and goats cheese croquetas topped with chives and sour cream. These creative combinations created a delicious range of powerful flavours. My favourite dish however, were the choricito sausages wrapped in bacon. Topped with prunes and chives, this pintxo created the perfect mixture of sweet and spicy. It was clear that each dish had been carefully prepared using quality ingredients to establish exciting, creative dishes.
Although I enjoyed each pintxo for individual reasons, it was the seafood, chicken and vegetable paella, which really stole the show. Visually beautiful with its colourful and diverse ingredients, this traditional dish was cooked by the chef right in front of us, creating a gorgeous aroma filling the entire square. Having grown up in Barcelona, Spain, I felt that Bar Nacional successfully captured a variety of classic Spanish dishes and gave them a personal twist, creating unique and powerful flavour combinations.
The seemingly endless trays of pintxos were accompanied by Spanish music and dancing. This paid homage to the traditional celebrations of San Sebastian, creating an authentic, lively atmosphere. As the evening came to a close, we were presented with one of my favourite desserts, warm Spanish donuts topped with sweet cherry jam. A perfect end to the evening!
The San Sebastian Summer Fiesta was a great way to say ‘adios’ to summer, with traditional Spanish music, delicious authentic cuisine and sangria. I would highly recommend Bar Nacional for a fun, sociable evening with friends or family, every Spanish foodies dream!
727 Collins Street
Mon – Fri: 7:00am to 10:00pm