We were fortunate enough to receive an invitation from our good friends at Zomato for a blogger meet-up at Escondido last week. The timing could not have been any better – in a few short days, we will be relishing tapas in the birthplace of these tasty little delights!
Escondido is not a new discovery for either of us – Ilaria included Escondido (meaning ‘hidden place’) in her November Favourite Five; and we celebrated our book club year-end dinner there last November. However, foodie meet-ups organized by Zomato are usually an even better experience of the restaurant; an insight into what the chef and patron are trying to achieve in the establishment. Our evening at Escondido was no different; the interaction with Chef Patron (Willem) and Front of House (Henry) allowed us to truly appreciate the work behind this successful restaurant.
We were hosted in the small cellar of the restaurant – surrounded by approximately 5000 wines – setting the tone for a relaxed, rustic evening. While Escondido styles itself as a tapas bar, the food is not exclusively Spanish – rather a medley of Mediterranean influences – and in our opinion, all the better for it!
We were spoilt with some incredible food on the evening – including the magnificent fresh porcini mushrooms (apparently the restaurant goes through more fresh porcini than other restaurant in the city!), an understated salmon risotto and the most delicious crumbed calamari in all of Jo’burg. The Arancini ‘balls’ have become a bit of institution for the restaurant, and after tasting the Beef and Béarnaise version last week we can understand why!
The menu is well-balanced between fresh (such as the seared tuna), meaty (fall-off the bone lamb riblets), salty (house-marinated olives) and sweet (pumpkin fritters – the Spruce favourite).
The sharing nature of food at Escondido was the perfect accompaniment to an evening such as this; the opinions of foodies (and wanna-be foodies like ourselves) swirling around the table amongst the many platters of incredible food. As the menu changes weekly, Escondido is the type of restaurant one can return to for a multitude of celebrations without boring of the menu. It is the perfect spot for a relaxed dinner – and definitely a personal favourite of both of ours!
The Spruce Girls with Sally from The Salt Box
Escondido is tucked away at the bottom of the Post Office Centre in Illovo (Rudd Road), and we would definitely recommend making a booking as the restaurant seems to get busier with each visit. Find all the details for the restaurant here.