Dinner, Eating
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La Puerta, Neutral Bay

For coeliacs, life doesn’t get much better than a menu covered in gluten free. Especially when it happens to be in the same sentence as cheese bread, pan-fried queso and empanadas.

We commuted to La Puerta in the pouring rain and on arrival we were greeted by their lovely staff, including their chef, Oscar who walked us through the tastes and history of their dishes. Their menu captures authentic South American cuisine with an Australian touch. To be honest, everything on there sounded amazing so we let the resident expert, Oscar, choose for us. We were excited.

We began our feast with their heavenly Cassava bread smothered with smoked butter and black salt. The grilled bread boosted the smoky flavour and you can’t go wrong with bread, butter and salt. la-puerta-gluten-free-01

Next we tasted their Tiradito, a peruvian specialty of thinly sliced king fish bathed in aji Amarillo and sorrel vein leaves. Wonderfully spicy and slippery. Then, empanaditas. They were corn based, filled with beef and perfectly accompanied with a goat’s cheese. La Puerta was serving up hit after hit. la-puerta-gluten-free-02

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Onto the mains we met a creamy dish of Changua Fish. The fish was baked in a savoury, custard-like bath of incredible flavours, torched on top and served with coconut rice.

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As we started to fill up we slowed down with a salad; crunchy with decadent pork crackling and softened with figs. And just while we thought we taking a break, we found ourselves salivating over red wine infused beef, textured with fried onions and accompanied by cassava croquettes for dipping. It was definitely a rich dish but sweetened with fresh tomatoes.
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At this point we had definitely overeaten but couldn’t say no to dessert. We were served an extravagant presentation of pavlova (my favourite food – hurrah!). This rendition of pavlova was a lot lighter and featured stacks of meringue and La Puerta’s boutique ice cream: lulu and sour-sop (similar to a sorbet) A refreshing way to finish off our massive South American gluten free feast.

We departed with big smiles and plans to return as we were curious to taste more South American flavours and the rest of their menu. Thank you La Puerta for a lovely evening.

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