I have a massive love for the Encasa chain of Spanish restaurants. There Encasa Deli in the Sydney CBD has their beautiful mosaic of what I would call the “Deli Lady” and some incredible food for dine-in and takeaway. Their Encasa Restaurant at the other end of the CBD is a massive Spanish Restaurant that serves the best sizzling garlic and chilli prawns of all time and now their new venue has arrived well away from the city. The Encasa Lance Cove venue is open and serving up their delectable treats. Huge thanks to the venue for the invitation to attend this wonderful place.
ENCASA LANE COVE VENUE:
The CBD Deli is a small cafe and deli in the city – it is all wood, dark tones and speaks of older times (check out my review HERE). The restaurant is massive and the Encasa group’s flagship (my review for this venue HERE). Encasa Lane Cove is in the middle. It is located in the main strip of shops in Lane Cove and has a small deli section at the front, also a great place to get your morning coffee hit. Past the front counter and entryway is the dining area. Tiled floors, brickwork, painted walls and a small warm toned bar. There is also a smaller version of the Deli Lady, which I was very happy to see.
Encasa Lane Cove has a lot of similarities to the menus from the other venues. This venue did not yet have its liquor licence at the time of my visit but if rumour serves me correct they were offering FREE corkage until it came through. That’s a bonus! But they may have their licence by now. They serve Bocadillos from 7am to 5pm – trust me – YOU NEED THESE IN YOUR LIFE. Following on from these, if you are dining in their starters are next level. From seafood morsels to fine cured meats. Charcuterie boards with cheeses to ensaladas. You really need red wine to compliment these amazing dishes, or a nice sangria if they have their licence now.
The rest of the menu is terrific tapas, some great rice dishes and a small section for the kidlets aka nines.
We got the very accommodating and friendly manager to select our meals. He kicked us off with a charcuterie known as the Tabla Mixta – basically some mixed meats with cheese. 40gms of Salchigchon, Jabon (ham) Iberico and Manchego cheese. This was served with some crusty bread and some pickled veggies. It was insane – charcuteries are my kind of food. Kicking back with red wine and these food boards is a heavenly culinary bliss. Ensure you start with this when you visit!!!
Next up was the Pinchos Muronos, aka lamb skewers, Spanish style. I have eaten them at the Encasa Restaurant and can assure you they are as good as the babies from that venue. Tender, juicy and flavoured to perfection.
Following on from the lamb skewers was the Gambas a la Plancha – a simple cooked prawn in shell with an alioli – a Spanish aioli with recipes that predate our common aioli – it is basically the same but alioli dates back to the First Century A.D. as the years progressed it became the aioli we know of today. I liked these prawns – they were big but paled in comparison to the sizzling garlic chilli prawns we had later.
Carrilleras al Vino Tinto (beef cheeks) was next on the table and was something I will always order but the accompaniment of “cauliflower textures” is something that was turning me off. I can’t stand the bleached boring broccoli. I shouldn’t have worried – that beef cheek was like meat butter and quite strong on the taste. The bleached broc worked well and it was probably the most amount of the noxious vegetable I have eaten. My favourite dish of the day!
Next up was a surprise extra dish from the manager as it is one of my favourite Encasa dishes. Their Sizzling Garlic and Chilli prawns, we did not know this was coming. How good is sizzling plates coming to your table. People look and for a brief moment want to be you haha. I have had these at the CBD restaurant also and sadly, I must admit, I preferred them from the flagship venue. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved them but the flavour balance was out at Lane Cove. At the CBD venue they were incredibly garlicky with a hint of chilli and here there wasn’t enough garlic and the chilli heat was turned up. To me the balance was better in the CBD as the hint of heat cut through the garlic.
Now if I had known this surprise was coming I wouldn’t have had the other prawn dish prior. While I will never complain about multiple prawn dishes it would have given me the opportunity to devour, say……Saffron Scallops or Marinated White Anchovies or Meatballs in Mama’s Sauce and so on. The entire menu makes me drool.
Encasa Lane Cove is more of the same greatness as their other two venues, some of the best Spanish food (I have eaten) in Sydney. If you haven’t been to any of their venues you need to change this immediately. If you live in the Lane Cove area may I introduce your new local. Get the sizzling prawns and if in the area during the day smash a few of those heavenly Bocadillos.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 2/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 0/1 bonus
Encasa Lane Cove Deets:
PH: (02) 9418 8577
HOURS: Tue to Sun – 7am – 930pm (website says Tue to Sun Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner?? – am guessing the 7am thing)
BAR: No but BYO
LOCAL DELIVERY: Yes
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Unsure
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) were invited guests of the establishment. However, as always, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such.