Tapas-style eateries are becoming increasingly trendy in Sydney. Flying Squirrel Tapas Parlour is only one of the many funky tapas restaurants out there. Situated at Bondi Road, but not near the beach, Flying Squirrel is a charming little establishment. It's packed and popular, and we're lucky to get a table on a Friday night. The friendly maitre d', who keeps calling me 'babe', says that I can take over someone else's table for four if they don't answer their phone. Which, happily for us, they don't.
We're led up a narrow flight of stairs and are seated at one of the four tables in the tiny space. It's intimate and dark here. Downstairs it's similarly dim, but a little bit louder because a few more patrons fit in the downstairs area.
Our upstairs area, however, is cosy and homey. There are shelves, a big mirror and wooden furniture. Various artworks adorn the walls. The bathrooms are worth a mention too. The toilet doors are covered with comics. And inside the women's bathroom the walls are spray-painted with roses.
Now to the food. We order nine dishes for the four of us. First up are the polenta chips, which are good, but nothing extraordinary. I do like the dipping sauce (a herby aioli-like condiment) it comes with though. Then come the zucchini flowers stuffed with goats curd on a bed of smoky capsicum coulis. I'm disappointed because I've had much better zucchini flowers in other tapas restaurants. But to be fair I'm intrigued by the smoky capsicum flavour.
My favourite dish comes up next: a triple cream cheese with apricots and toasted sesame bread. The cheese is exquisitely creamy and decadent. I'm kicking myself for not asking what its name was (and where I can buy it by the kilo). Also good is the chicken pate, which is accompanied by toasted bread, cornichons and pickled onions.
Then the rocket, walnut, pear and gorgonzola salad arrives on our table. It's punchy and bold-flavoured, which I'm immediately drawn to. And the soft bits of pear cut through the strong taste of the gorgonzola beautifully.
Next are the scallops in a delicious and creamy onion sauce and the salt and Szechuan pepper squid. The squid is nice but nothing special. For what feels like eternity no other dishes arrive at our table. We notice we've been waiting for our last two dishes for over an hour. Our waiter informs us that somehow the order wasn't written down, but ensures us that the lamb and chorizo will be on their way shortly.
The chorizo dish has more peas in it than chorizo. As one of my dinner companions points out, we're not sure when peas became so fashionable. Despite the abundance of peas, the chorizo is still tasty. The lamb, which lies on a smoky chickpea puree, is the perfect finale to our meal.
I like how the tapas here aren't just Spanish; they're internationally influenced. From the Szechuan-inspired squid to Japanese edamame beans, there's something for everyone. Visit the Flying Squirrel website if you'd like to see the full menu. However, beware that the menu has some different dishes - it must have updated.
The drinks list includes cocktails, wine, and beer, but I opt for a Monteith's cider, which I admit goes down well with our tapas choices. Know that BYO is not allowed.