Dreamer, wordsmith, mum of two - I enjoy the outdoors, good food and good company. Subscribe to my articles to follow what I've been up to, and like those articles you want to see more of so I can tailor what I write to my audience.
Published March 13th 2018
Ensconced in a corner of the food court on level 5 of Westfield Sydney, Pitt St Mall, is a little corner of Spain, serving authentic Spanish fare and flavours, served rapido!
I remember frequenting the original Encasa restaurant an undisclosed number of years ago when I was still at University, located further down Pitt St towards Chinatown. It was one of my favourite places to meet with friends and wash down generous portions of tapas and paella with copious amounts of sangria. The food was delicious, good value and served with a smile. But how would it translate to this new rapido venue?
Well, Encasa Rapido certainly lives up to its name - we only had to wait a few minutes for the boxes of food to come out after ordering, emanating an enticing aroma. We couldn't wait to rip the boxes open to get to their contents.
Empanadas, South American beef turnovers, with chimichurri, $4
The empanadas were crispy, tasty and loaded with a mouth-watering inducing salty hit. The chimichurri was an enticingly green contrast to the bright, golden pastry enclosing the filling. I wasn't sure how spicy the chimichurri would be, but it was more piquant than hot, so it was suitable for people with any level of chilli endurance.
A plethora of bocadillos on display
I had never encountered a bocadillos before today, but I suspect this will become a regular feature of my lunchtime fare in the future. The bread has just the right amount of chewiness, and the filling is loaded with protein and lashings of sauce.
If you're a fan of grilled chicken and aioli, you can't really go wrong with the Portugues Bocadillo, which really packs a tremendous amount of flavour between two halves of a baguette. The price might seem a bit steep until you try eating one. One of these monsters is a sandwich and a half (if not, two sandwiches!)
The Bocadillo pepito was a fabulous Spanish version of a steak sandwich - but that term sounds far too dowdy to properly encompass the taste sensation that this was.
The egg was fried perfectly, so the yolk burst open when biting into it, oozing yolky goodness down the side of the baguette. Deliciously messy and filling!
Patatas bravas - fried potato with spicy tomato and aoili, $5.50
Uh-oh, the patatas bravas was a BIG hit for me, and this is a problem, because eating lots of this several times a week is going to turn me spherical, and this was so tasty, I could very easily turn to this as a regular go-to snack. And at $5.50, why wouldn't you?
With just enough spice to leave your tongue tingling without any painful burning sensation, and smothered with tomato and aioli sauces, this is a patatas bravas that will have you going back for more. I don't remember having had patatas bravas with this much sauce before, but for me, it definitely works.
My eating companions agreed that the Paco salad was the standout dish of the bunch (I reserve my judgment as the Bocadillos were pretty fantastic lunch fare). The combination of jamon, anchovies and dressing worked really well together.
Phew, eating this much delicious food is sure to work up a thirst. As well as the usual soft drinks available, you can order a genuine Brazilian soft drink that is guarana flavoured - it's very approachable, and you can console yourself that it's the kind of drink designed to be eaten with this type of food.
I can't convey how thrilled I am that after all these years, my favourite Spanish haunt has expanded and is offering its fare in a takeaway format that I can grab between meetings. While the rapido menu is more limited than their main restaurant menu, it means that what they make in their rapido locations is made well, and given to you fast.
Maria and Pachi have made a wonderful takeaway eatery here. This is a great addition to the flavours from around the world available in this food court - it's authentic, vibrant and the new kid on the block. If you work in the city or are shopping here - definitely check it out. You won't leave hungry or disappointed.
There is also an Encasa Rapido in Chifley Square. Catering for office functions is available too, which includes with 24-hour notice, paella! Check their website for details.