This venue has closed.
To continue enjoying chef Jodi Noguera's cuisine, see FOC.
It’s easy to miss FoodBar DaDa, a narrow tapas restaurant slipped in among the big, expat-y restaurants on Robertson Quay. With its dark industrial decor, black T-shirted staff and obscure jazz, it feels somehow too hip for the area.
The problem with all these new tapas places opening is that we keep comparing them to Esquina, our favourite. But unlike Luke Mangan’s Salt tapas & bar, DaDa really is like Atherton’s Chinatown restaurant, with its minimal seating, mostly at the open bar counter, and aspirations towards offbeat cool.
DaDa does have a kind of worn-in Barcelona alley feel working in its favour, and an edginess that the more self-conscious Esquina doesn’t have. Certainly the food is of the more basic variety, starting with the A4 paper menu, though we’ll forgive that because Catalan chef Manel Valero changes the seasonal menu regularly. It sticks to a lot of the classics – square patatas bravas ($6), light croquettes ($12) and fresh, unfussy mussels ($16) cooked in their Josper oven (the place is owned by a Josper distributor).
We like the smoky complexity of both the escalivada toast ($8) with anchovies, pepper salsa and red-pepper foam; and the sishito peppers with rich, juicy shiitakes ($11) and walnuts. Another strong dish is a perfectly textured (neither too slimy nor chewy) grilled octopus a la gallega ($22) sprinkled with paprika. The Iberian Secret with Pisto Manchego (a sort of tomato and pepper salsa, $16) featured three deliciously tender but fatty pieces of pork and a splodge of polenta. Tasty and homely, but not displaying the subtlety of, say, Esquina’s Ox-Cheek Oloroso.
There’s a decent wine selection and good cocktails such as the Summer Time, with prosecco, elderflower liqueur and garnished cloves. Overall, DaDa is a cool spot and feels more authentic than just about anything along Robertson Quay. It’s not quite as special as Esquina, but then again it’s not trying to be. Toby Skinner
|Venue name:||FoodBar DaDa (CLOSED)|
#01-12 60 Robertson Quay
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sat 6-11pm|
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