Pablo Tordesillas has opened a Spanish-leaning restaurant overlooking Hyde Park.
You could never ever accuse Pablo Tordesillas of pulling his punches. In his days at Otto and at Brisbane favourite Ortiga, even when his cooking was at its most technical, flavour remained paramount. And so it is here at The Resident on College Street with his return to Sydney in a glassy tiled space overlooking Hyde Park. The room and service might lean to the anodyne side of polished, and the name is the very definition of bland, the sort of thing only a body corporate could like, but the menu comes out swinging.
It's not purely Spanish, and the word "tapas" doesn't appear on the menu, but Spain is definitely the key reference point, whether it's mussels escabeche served with crisps, superb anchovies contrasted with shiny green gordal olives, or the simple elegance of jamón Ibérico on grilled sourdough and tiny baguettes stuffed with pickled cucumber and sardines.
Casting the net a bit wider for influences also pays dividends, as with the inspired addition of crisp saltbush leaves to a plate of sautéed duck livers and salsify, while colatura, the southern-Italian fish sauce, brings the funk to a salad of nicely browned broccoli tossed with shreds of egg, fried shallot and currants.
The leafy interior of The Resident overlooks Hyde Park.
Do oysters need Granny Smith and chardonnay granita? Does the plate of kale and Brussels sprouts need to be topped with lardo and migas cooked in chorizo fat? Possibly not. But in the face of exquisitely cooked Spanish mackerel sauced with watercress and piperade, or orange and goat's milk yoghurt with little crisps of brik pastry and a whisper of rosemary, such moments of overenthusiasm are easy to forgive.
Throw in a pretty decent (if exxy) wine list and complement the restaurant with a sweet little café next door doing interesting sandwiches and snacks, and you've got plenty of reason to hope The Resident is permanent.
The Resident, 18 College St, Darlinghurst, NSW, (02) 8318 8618, theresidentdining.com.au. Open lunch Thu-Sun noon-3pm; dinner Mon-Sat 5.30pm-10pm, Sun 5.30pm-9pm.