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Published September 18th 2012
Looking for great tapas? Read about El Bulli with no bull
If you're looking to have tapas for dinner at the spot in Randwick, El Bulli del Punto may be the spot for you. Although it's far too noisy for an adequate family or romantic dinner indoors, you can bring a group of friends inside. Alternatively, you can sit outside if you're lucky - meaning that the weather's good and the seats aren't taken.
Last time I went, I did get lucky enough to sit outside and order a delightful little range of tapas. We weren't particularly hungry and four plates served us well. In the photo below, you will see some bread and what looks like a mystery sauce. This sauce, ladies and gentlemen, is the god of garlic mayonnaises. Bread with garlic mayo is complimentary and brought our prior to your tapas.
Featured below is the in-house favourite, Patatas El Bulli. I have eaten this several times before here and although normally absolutely delectable, this time it was a little bit too salty for me. Some people like their food to be salty, but that's not me. Additionally, the potatoes tasted a little bit overcooked compared to what they used to taste like.
These might deceive you by their aesthetic similarity to curry puffs, but don't let looks fool you. These empanadillas are extremely different, their appearance and pastry likely being the only real similarities. El Bulli del Punto boasts these to contain authentic spiced beef, olives & egg wrapped in puffed pastry. Let me tell you, that description doesn't give justice to the delicious flavour explosion of El Bulli empanadillas. I'm surprised they're not the house favourite, given how beautiful they are. I cannot recommend these enough.
The pinchitos de pollo is once again a lovely dish to order. The chicken was not over or undercooked (this isn't meant to be an achievement, but unfortunately it is for many places). The flavours infused together very nicely.
Overall, I would say that El Bulli del Punto is a bit expensive for what it is. Years ago when I first discovered it here, it had excellent service and although you paid a premium, it was somewhat justified. Nowadays, their "in-house favourite" (depicted above, the potato dish) - was overcooked and too salty. There are lots of other nice tapas joints around and if you don't have any attachment to this particular one like I do because of the garlic mayonnaise, perhaps you'd be better off trying to find another.
The nice thing about El Bulli del Punto is that their recipes really do seem somewhat authentic. They have a large menu and do accommodate for large groups. The downside is the pricing, with some tiny plates costing as much as nearly $30. You can argue that tapas are expensive anywhere, but I know that I would rather order an extravagant entree at a restaurant for that money.
For those that enjoy alcohol, El Bulli del Punto is licensed and serves alcohol. Speaking of service, this can also be hit and miss. Some staff are wonderful, whilst some seem to be completely rude and incompetent.
On the menu, there are many seafood items and some vegetarian tapas options too, which is commendable. El Bulli del Punto is definitely worth a visit, but I'd save it for a group occasion for which price is less important, and the ability to make obnoxious amounts of noise without consequence is paramount.