Living in Melbourne a good air-conditioning system is not top of my wish list for restaurants but the past few weeks have made it an issue all of a sudden. On a normal night I would have loved eating at Gertrude tapas bar Anada. But on a stinking hot Saturday night in the midst of a heat wave it was not a pleasant experience despite the excellent food. The restaurant only has two fans and a tiny air conditioner down the back. With one fan broken even Stephanie Alexander who was eating at an adjoining table was begging for cool air (yes I was star struck).
|Jamon at Anada|
Back to the food though, Anada is a tapas bar and so since I was there with a group of friends we decided to get the tasting menu ($55) of nine raciones and tapas. The meal started out really well with some tapas bar classics: folds of salty jamon and thin wedges of Manchego cheese topped with a slither of sweet quince past.
Fat, deep crumbed croquettes were crisp on the outside and creamy inside flavoured with salt cod and flecks of garlic shoots. The highlight though was a minty, silky smooth glass of gazpacho. So refreshing.
|Gazpacho at Anada|
From the raciones menu fat, juicy prawns which had been charcoal grilled to give them a great charred taste and were served on a slick of tomato salmorejo and topped with a piece of crispy pancetta. But from here the tapas menu became more like the sort of dishes you would serve on a cold July day rather than a in a heatwave.
|Prawns with pancetta at Anada|
While the pork belly was sweet and juicy with excellent, crisp salty crackling, it wasn’t the sort of food any of us felt like eating. Even more difficult to leave aside were the slow roasted beef cheeks which were so tender they fell apart to touch. They were delicious but not what we expected to be served on such a hot night. By this stage of the evening we were sitting on napkins to mop up the sweat on the leather seats and had to ask if we could finish our drinks off outside to try and get some cool air.
|Pork belly on eggplant mash at Anada|
I’d love to go back to Anada in winter but it’s not a great restaurant for our current hot weather. The fan being broken was just bad luck, but serving a menu which was not seasonal at all was pretty disappointing and is not something that would happen at any self respecting tapas bar in Spain.
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Details: Anada, 197 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, 3065 (Ph 03 9415 6101) Open: 6pm till late, Monday to Friday, 12pm to late, Friday Saturday and Sunday.
Damage: Pricey. Our bill came to $85 a head including drinks.