A few years ago I embarked on my first overseas trip. One of the destinations on my itinerary was Spain. I had such high hopes for my visit, but if I’m honest, it did not deliver everything I had wanted it to. What disappointed me most was the food. More recently, I have noticed an influx of tapas bars popping up around Brisbane; a sign that the influences of the Mediterranean have made their way to Australian shores, and although my experience overseas was not brilliant, it has not deterred me from Spanish food altogether. And this is how I came to find myself in Granada Cafe Tapas Bar.
Just coincidentally I happen to walk past Granada each day on my way to and from work. Some areas of South Brisbane were severely affected by the floods earlier this year, and the restaurant displays a photograph of the water lapping under its floor-to-ceiling windows. I may not have noticed it, had I a. not been looking for a spot to catch up with an old friend and b. not stopped to look at the menu.
Two things won me over – the first was the exotic-sounding delectables and the second was the amazing prices on show.
Elevated from the road, but looking out over Melbourne Street, Granada has a funky, Spanish-themed feel to it. There is a lot of timber; dark timber floors, timber furniture etc, and the restaurant is painted in vibrant reds reminiscent of the colours from the Andalusian region of Spain. The multicoloured tiled bar front is a standout feature, possibly only outdone by the wall of alcohol and glasses behind it. But all-in-all it is surprisingly no fuss (a lot how I remember Spain to be).
If you enjoy a Spanish drop you will find it here, with a plentiful array of vino, cerveza and sangria on the list. I can recommend a glass (or a bottle) of the Granrojo ‘Rojo’ Garnacha 2009.
The staff is friendly, and more than helpful if you have trouble deciding on something from the menu. Granada will satisfy those who are looking for something light or those with a bigger appetite, but one thing reins true – good things can come in small packages. The Croqueta de Espinacas were delicate parcels of spinach and goats cheese, and went well with the Manchego con Membrillo (hard sheep’s milk cheese with a sliver of quince paste), and the Pollo a la Yucatan (a Mexican-inspired marinated chicken dish with red beans, rice and corn tortillas).
If you’re game, try the restaurant-made chilli sauce. It will blow your mind!
The flavours were individual and unique, but part of me wished the portions were larger. Particularly as the plates were being shared, I felt that the quantity did not match the number of diners. That said, if we had any room left in our bellies, it would have been very easy to have ordered more. I did like the way the food was plated.
With the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre walking distance away, and GoMA, the State Library and QPAC just a little further, Granada could well be the perfect spot for a bit of casual dining.
Overall rating: 3 out of 5
Granada Cafe Tapas Bar details:
Address – 154 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane, QLD
Food – Spanish and Mexican
Drink – Licensed
Prices – Tapas from $3, Raciones from $9, Postres from $9.
Granada is open Monday to Friday from 12.00 till late and Saturday from 5.30pm till late. See granadabrisbane.wordpress.com or call 07 3844 4757.