Emma Ferguson and Daniel Morris are assembling a formidable group of venues. First, they reworked long-term player Balthazar, which was joined by No Mafia, a wine bar loosely styled on the local wine bars of Italy’s south, with food and vino to match, and more recently by their Northbridge tapas bar, Los Bravos.
Los Bravos’ agenda is very much about soaking up the sun, Iberian themed vibes and generally encouraging good times. With stools arrayed under the front verandah and bench seats lined up down the side, Los Bravos accommodates as many people for al fresco dining as it does inside, which is appointed with a mix of stools, high benches and booths. The ‘whitewashed’ building is interrupted only by a swath of blue at the entrance, with a winking pair of eyes flanking the door. Inside, colourful Spanish tiles are complemented by an equally colourful wallpapering of posters and ruddy polished timber floors.
Ferguson and Morris have pitched the menu towards coastal Spain, with classics, like croquettas, jamon, chorizo and paella featuring, but it is perhaps the focus on local seafood that stands out the most, with the sparklingly fresh catch tuned with Spanish techniques and ingredients. Local sardines, squid, whiting and anchovies all get an Iberian makeover, but with a sensitivity that lets the produce shine. They even turn out a version of mojama (air-dried, salt-cured tuna) using local mackerel. Oh, and the paella is cooked from scratch to order – less common than you might think.
The wine list unsurprisingly continues the Spanish theme, both with imported offerings and local wines with a Spanish bent. Much like the couple’s other venues, most wines also fall under a sustainable and lo-fi banner. Ferguson is particularly enthused about sharing the joys of Sherry with aficionadas and willing converts alike, with five currently on pour. Table wines account for another 15 pouring options, and the main list runs to about 50 bins. Both selections change frequently. Moritz is on tap, accompanied by local craft brews, and there’s Spanish vermouth, as well as Sherry-laced cocktails, too.