To officially mark the launch of foodies agenda, I thought there was no better way than to celebrate over a seriously good meal & a BIG glass of red. The perfect place to head to was Jah Bar in Manly.
Jah Bar is a longstanding local favourite for my hubby and I. It’s a dimly yet warm lit tapas style restaurant which oozes in charm. The food is what I’d call a jazz hands version of traditional spanish tapas. There is a long bar which you can sit & eat at which directly faces the open kitchen. Watching the chefs at work is all part of the experience for us. If eating at the bar isn’t your thing, there are tables to choose from inside & within a candlelit courtyard which is a great spot to spend on a warm Summer’s evening.
After frequenting Jah Bar on many occasions, it doesn’t take us long to order the dishes we’d be craving since our last sitting. First up are the empanada pillows of slow cooked beef shin encased in golden buttery pastry. An ideal companion to that first sip of fruity red vino or cold crisp spanish beer.
Quickly following is the patatas bravas, a perfect handful of blistering chat potatoes smothered in a slightly spicy tomato sauce. To fulfill my inner niggle of having to have at least 1 serving of greens with dinner, the paprika spiced cauliflower lands in front of us. The florets of the cauliflower have been gently chargrilled which adds to the smokey flavour of the paprika without overkilling it.
The hero dish, slow cooked pork belly with homemade quince jam doesn’t disappoint. You’ll come to discover that pork, cooked anyway, is my biggest weakness. Just call me Miss Piggy. I know this is a big call, but Jah Bar’s pork belly is probably the best in Sydney, let alone in Manly. It’s so succulent, yet the crackling has the perfect crunch. The quince jam is sweet enough to balance out the richness. This time it’s served with tender chickpeas and a beautiful light jus.
Tonight the pork has defeated us so we skip dessert & just linger on with the fruity medium bodied bottle of Malbec. On previous occasions we’ve had the crema catalana & churros, both extreeeemely satisfying. The only complaint then would be that there wasn’t enough of the churros!
I highly recommend grabbing your other half & reserving two seats at the bar as soon as you can. If you’re going with a group of friends, it’s best to ask for one of the tables as your conversation may be lost down the line of the bar. Depending on how busy they are, I’d also ask the waiter to stagger your ‘starter’ & ‘main’ choices as sometimes they can all come at once. You really want this edible Spanish journey to last the night.
9-15 Central Ave, Manly, NSW 2095. Ph – +61 (02) 9977 4449