Let the good times roll- Bodega 1904, Tramsheds
Sometimes when certain forces unite, a particular kind of magic is born, an unexplainable dynamic that makes the simplistic of things come to life. And that's the kind of rockability-tattooed-culinary magic that happens when the forces of Ben Milgate, Elvis Abrahanowicz, co-owner Joe Valore, and Sarah Doyle turn their hand at pretty much anything hospitality.
Once a graveyard for Sydney's iconic trams, the revived Tramsheds food precinct is a fitting home for Bodega 1904, breathing Latin-inspired life back into a unique space. The bar can be found in the open, tram like space, lined with Tiffany blue upholstered stools, where taps flow with local craft beers and where exotic cocktails are born.
Peruse through the well-stocked Bodega 1904 Wine Store, where a continental cross-section of vintages line the floor to ceiling walls, in particular, Spain is well represented with bespoke tempranillo and reds available to purchase and take home.
A dining experience is never just about the food. It's a sensory journey that goes far beyond the plate- from the music playing in the background to the comfort of your dining chair. Attention to detail and creating a place that makes you want to keep coming back for more, is something which Bodega 1904 has nailed, not only in ambience but also through the culinary craftsmanship of chef Joel Humphreys.
Everything is alluring. The open kitchen is a window into where house-cured meats are shaved, and where licks of flames dance on succulent cuts of lamb, all under the watchful eye of a controlled and focused team. On the floor, the focus and finesse is just as on pointe, with a down-to-earth team of waitstaff ready to guide you down the menu path of enticing dishes.
Don't hold back and go the whole hog by ordering the chef's banquet-starting with olives and house-made bread served with worth-filling-the-arteries-up-with cultured butter. Tangy from its acidic marination, the Eggplant escabeche kicks off the first real taste of Latin cuisine, and pairs well with the Olasagasti anchovies which are just the right amount of salty.
The menu changes regularly and plays along with the seasons and availability. On this occasion the freshly shucked oysters were from the far south New South Wales coastal township of Merimbula- emphasis on the fresh, these are a shot of the ocean in a shell.
The term cold-cuts has progressively its original lustre from back in the days when delis would serve slices of fresh ham off the bone, and salamis were cold smoking out the back, fastly replaced by overly processed crap in the supermarket. Fortunately, this is where you can get a taste of that old-school, original, made with love variety. The mortadella and bresaola taste like they were made yesterday and delicately smoked to take the flavours to the next level.
Moving on to the curried arepa and deviled quails egg- this has got to be one of the more intricate dishes with its varied layers of flavour from lightly curried and creamy, paired the peppery topping on the egg and traditional South American arepa maize base.
There's only one dish which has become a permanent resident on the menu from day one, and that is the blood cake served with mojo verde and yoghurt. This dish really encapsulates the Bodega spirit- rustic Latin flavours mixed with creative inventiveness, flavours that pack a punch, that all comes together, bloody well.
The Mirrol Creek lamb is everything you would expect from a pasture raised, Riverina piece of lamb- tender and how you wish every Sunday roast would be and paired with whey poached pumpkin, za'atar and tahini yoghurt.
One does not simply visit Bodega 1904 without sampling the 1904 Chorizo sausage. Freshly made, there's none of that typical over-powering saltiness and punch of processed rubbish, this is the real deal, if only they all tasted this good.
This is where good times are meant to be enjoyed and made, over platters of food that speaks volumes through creative flavour combinations, housemade goodies and of course a good glass of red or two. Let the good times roll.
Tenancy 15, The Tramsheds
1 Dalgal Way,
Forest Lodge NSW 2037