Paella Joy At Pop Restaurant
The recently revamped Pop Restaurant in Hardware Lane is a serious destination for paella lovers.
On Tuesday nights Pop Restaurant is serving up paella from a massive pan imported from Spain. Head Chef Manuel Villegas is the king of paella and can be seen preparing and serving the paella to customers. It's always exciting to see a Chef spending time out of the kitchen interacting with customers. We checked out the paella as guests of Pop Restaurant. Over the years I've been a big fan of the paella enjoying it all over the world. I love paella not just for the culinary bliss, but for the whole communal aspect of it. I understand the paella is a tradition in the countryside and streets of Spain where it's often out in the open for all to see. Paella is at the heart of community.
Therefore there's no better place to enjoy paella in Melbourne than Hardware Lane - a thronging vibrant precinct consistently packed with diners. A sense of community already resides in Hardware Lane. It's perfect for Manuel Villegas to unveil his paella passion in this heart of the Melbourne CBD.
Villegas is well known for his paella prowess in Melbourne. At Pop Restaurant the paella changes each week. Tonight we enjoyed a mixed paella which included large king prawns, grain fed chicken, quality chorizo, mussels and the highest quality Spanish calasparra rice. Villegas takes his time preparing the intense sofrito stock to form the paella. He adds the prawns and meat etc towards the end of the process - creating a work of art in the massive paella pan.
The mixed paella was well composed on the plate, not too soggy, and the flavour was absorped into the quality calasparra rice. The flavours were intense from the excellent stock preparation. Sofrito is such a key element to a great paella.
The paella rice was also full of bits of grain fed chicken, chorizo and prawns. Villegas only uses quality ingredients.
We were also treated to some quality tasting plates.
Wonderful garlic prawns with bread to dip into the sauce...
Amazing chocolate tart...
Paella is simply fun. We thoroughly enjoyed Paella night at Pop Restaurant as a group of diners. Gran sabor!
Check out our earlier article on the revamped Pop Restaurant in Hardware Lane at http://www.theworldlovesmelbourne.com/dev4/19-food/229-pop-restaurant-renaissance-in-hardware-lane.html