I wanted to treat a dear friend of mine to a nice meal for her birthday. Sunday lunch seemed perfect – we could get boozey and still walk a straight line for the boss on Monday. When a foodie friend of mine recommended Bouzy Rouge, I knew I couldn’t resist planet alignment.
As if taking some inspiration from the obvious pop culture reference point (Moulin Rouge), the decor was theatrical and flamboyant. We were taken aback – did this place serve Spanish Tapas or did it serve Wildebeest on the spit with a cabaret show for dessert?
But we were quickly put at ease by the friendly staff, who gave us free pick at seats. We were immediately drawn to the Paella offer: A large paella served with a large pitcher of Sangria. Perfect for two. Perfect for $60.
We had two plus a particularly keen birthday girl (who ordered a glass of red before her bottom touched her seat). So we ordered a few more sides: “Angry Eggs” (which is a dish consisting of crispy potatoes with Iberian ham, alioli and fried egg), Cauliflower Gratin and roasted mushrooms with leek bechamel sauce and manchego cheese. The angry eggs was a fun twist on the usual Patatas Bravas. Anyone who is a fan of runny yolk will abandon Mr fork and head straight in with Mrs spoon. The gratin and mushrooms were of the creaminess and cheesiness that vegetable haters (and their parents) rely on to save them from a fibre-less diet. Gosh does the winter weight pile on easy with such comfort food!
It was at this point that the birthday girl realised she was 3 drinks in, red in the face, and without a designated driver. A heated debate unfolded. Was it worth the risk getting caught DUI on her birthday? Was it safer for her L-plate girlfriend to take the wheel instead? What of her car which was parked in a 2P zone?
We took stock. Half a pitcher of Sangria and the main course to go. A large pan of chicken, chorizo and seafood paella was placed in the middle of the table. In efforts to sober up quickly (…so she says), the birthday girl proceeded to spade half of the contents of the pan onto her plate. There was simply no time for table manners.
For the more relaxed and sober diners at the table, we casually poked and teased the bear endearingly as per birthday tradition and pretended to be appalled by the inequitable food distribution of that meal.
The bear had absolutely no room for dessert. And although the paella wasn’t half bad, the few spoonfuls of rice left in the pan said it all. We had tasted better.
A quirky little low key place to head to for very decently priced tapas. Not the most authentic, but the dishes were interesting enough, simple and enjoyable. Keep this one in the bag for that occasion when you can’t get a reservation at the greats like Portello Rosso and the purse strings are a bit taut.