El Matador is a lively, authentic Spanish tapas bar nestled in Brisbane's oldest laneway Burnett Lane.
Open from morning to midnight, El Matador is the place to take you through from morning coffee and delectable premise-baked Spanish pastries to late night bocadillo de jamon and glass of Spanish wine.
A colourful matador statuette out front marks the entrance to the sunken bar, which has a bustling kitchen at its heart and which opens out onto the street. Diners can pull up a stool outside and watch the passing traffic or nestle into one of the cosy partitioned dining spaces inside.
On the breakfast menu, as well as the daily-baked Spanish sweets, morning buns, tarts and cakes are the likes of butter milk and acai panna cotta, Spanish tortilla, cheese and onion crisps, Noosa earth mushrooms with kale, corn and brown buttered sourdough or special breakfast boards of Spanish cured meats and cheese or smoked fish, labneh and pickled beetroot, both served with slow-cooked eggs and house-made sourdough.
The rest of the staggeringly big all-day menu is like a trip through the regions of Spain starting with the daily selection of tapas from the kitchen including Patatas Bravas, Croquetas de jamon, Chicharron (puffed pork crackling, salt & vinegar & romesco), Classic Tortilla, La Boqueria (Txistorra sausage, coal roast, mushrooms, pine nuts, raisins and sherry) and Pollo San Jacobo (crumbed chicken serrano and melted Mahon cheese).
The impressive array of Spanish cured meats, to be enjoyed as a charcuterie board, include Truffa wild boar salami, Jamon de Serrano, Jamon Iberico de Bolatta (the prized king of jamon, acorn fed from the rare black foot pig leg and aged for 3 years), Salamanca or Sobrasada Salami, Oscura Grande and Morcon (classic Spanish salami, smoked hot chilli, garlic and sweet paprika).
A spectacular selection of seafood from the ice bar includes oysters served natural with spiced gazpacho, chorizo vinaigrette and lemon caviar, (Tsar Nicolai sturgeon, Black Pearl Siberian Oscietra or Beluga) served iced with toast, cultured butter and creme fraiche; shellfish ala plance, garil butter and lemon (Mooloolaba giant king prawns, local tropical painted crayfish, WA marron or Shark Bay scampi) or chilled seafood (sand crabs, Moreton Bay bugs, king crab claws or Queensland king prawns) served with spiced gazpacho, aioli and lemon.
There's also large seafood plates to share such as slow-cooked octopus, crisp- fried fish wings, Fisherman's seafood rice or pot roast whole baby market fish with white wine, saffron and lemon; or hearty rustic meat dishes such as whole Sovereign lamb shoulder, Darling Downs veal chop or the mammoth Rangers Valley pure black Angus tomahawk form the New England Tablelands.
In addition there's a fine selection of Spanish cheese (including Manchego, San Simon, Mahon Anejo and Azul de Valdeon) served with baby figs, mebrilo, apple chutney, Barossa bark and crusty bread as well as desserts (Creme Ctalan, Basque burnt chese cake or traditional Spanish sweets platter to share).
Drinks at El Matador are on par with the quality of the food, with Spanish tipples you won't find elsewhere. Here you can enjoy Estrella lager on tap, Spanish bubbly by the glass, a wide range of Spanish, Italian, French and Australian wines (including a special Reserve list of premium wines), tequilas (including Patron Amego, Patron Silver, Tequila Blue and Don Julio 1942) and a selection of sherries. Meanwhile cocktails include Old Cuban, Tennesee Jam Sour, Sapphire or Berry Sangria and Spanish Apple (Spanish cider, gran sarao cava, apple and soda water).
Need to know - El Matador is lined up with the rear of 15 Adelaide St Brisbane, in the George St end of Burnett Lane. El Matador is closed for functions on Sundays.