Ever wanted to catch up with a few friends but you couldn’t decide where to go, or what you felt like eating? Finally, there’s a place with a bit of everything, all day long to keep our fussy bellies happy and healthy. The Lodge Tapas has got us sorted and they invited SydneySocial101 in for a chat and a bite to eat this week to show us.

For family-friendly, casual dining they’ve really hit the mark. Owners Matt and Marteka have held court at ex-Firefly’s den in Lane Cove Plaza for the last three years and they’ve created a vibrant dining experience that’ll have you and your friends covered no matter your tastes.

Monday to Wednesday nights they do a Mexican Fiesta menu, for $16 you can pick your dish and top it off with a choice of meats such as spicy prawn, Mexican chicken or chilli marinated haloumi. I let Matt choose and he brought out their tacos. House made taco shells with a tomato salsa, iceberg lettuce, jalapeno, sour cream and we topped them with scallop ceviche. These three little pretties had a lovely crunchy shell and a nice spicy bite to them. Mexican night they offer beers ($7), Sangria ($15) and half a dozen Margarita options ($10). I had to try their Traditional Margarita and I was not disappointed. It was almost sweet with just the right amount of salt along the glass rim. Matt explained it was their Espolon tequila that he mixes in with triple sec and the special ingredient, 15mls of organic agave syrup. Bliss!

Traditional Margarita and 3 Tacos with Scallop Ceviche

Traditional Margarita and 3 Tacos with Scallop Ceviche

The Zucchini fries with zatar and crunchy garlic aioli ($13) are one of the menu stayers from the Firefly days. Lucky for us, as with a pinch of salt these snacks of long, lightly battered zucchini sticks were very moreish throughout our meal.

Next we tucked into the Beetroot cured salmon with pickled vegetables ($17). Matt and Marketa developed the menu with ex-Aria chef Kyoung Sub Cha. He’s keen on a rustic style of food combining herbs and spices to showcase a dish’s main ingredient, which they source from the best and freshest local produce. Their menu is Modern Australian Fusion with an eclectic offering of foods to suit every palate. The broad wine list has an option or two in every popular variety. Matt fashioned it with a well-versed industry buddy showing a skill at wine pairing.

I really enjoyed the apple bites and calvados’ from our Double cooked pork belly with baby granny smith apple puree, apple chip and calvados apple served with grilled Canadian scallop with house made vegetable chips ($19). Lots of tasty apple bits, so that makes the pork belly good for me right? Our bellies were filling up so we slowed down.

Matt had mentioned that Tapas Lodge’s breakfast menu, which boasts several ‘bacon and egg’ options, Traditional French toast ($17), Spanish hot pot ($19) and also has a few healthy selections. Their Acai Bowl with Brazilian acai berries, apple juice and banana blended then topped with granola and fresh fruit ($12.50) is proving very popular with the locals. They serve perfectly roasted Campos Coffee and their teas are by ethically traded and certified organic tea house Chamellia teas. Try the French Breakfast – it’s a Ceylon tea blended with organic vanilla.

The person we have to thank though is Marketa. She started baking their dairy free, sugar free, egg free, and gluten free treats at home for Tapas Lodge. Her treats were so high in demand that now their pastry chef (ex-Guylian) makes them on site with the range of their deserts. I left that evening with two yum treats, a Raw Caramel Slice ($6.50) gluten, dairy, egg and sugar free and the Raw Pistachio Cranberry Slice ($6.70). They’re as delicious as they are guilt-free.

Back to dinner we moved on to the Lamb cutlet with wild rice and rocket salad ($29). Seriously, it was perfectly cooked. Pre-empting deserts I started with an Espresso Martini. Café Patron, Kahlua and a fresh shot of Campos coffee. Matt likes the tequila over vodka in the cocktail as it has a cleaner taste and I have to agree with him there. It was super smooth.

Arancini balls with wild Mushroom, white truffle oil and aged Parmesan

Arancini balls with wild Mushroom, white truffle oil and aged Parmesan

We were told the trick for our desert, Espresso brulêe with a Kahlua anglaise ($10), was to pour the anglaise on top of the brulêe and dip in with your cranberry wafer as a spoon. Do it, trust me.

On their lunch menu of pizzas, salads and mains such as the Pan grilled ocean trout ($27), are a few burgers as well. I spotted the Spinach and ricotta burger ($17), I think that’s definitely a dish the FBAS would have to try.

Lodge Tapas was an enjoyable evening. The atmosphere is relaxed, the décor is tastefully done (look up at the multi-styles of light shades), the food was tasty and our host so very genial. Grab your friends and stop in for an after work drink and stay for a tapas or three. If someone’s declining because they can’t find a sitter, stress not, it’s child friendly and bonus, kids eat free after 5pm when an adult main is ordered. My tip, make sure you stroll in of a morning to try out their fresh baked muffins and snacks that sell out almost daily!

What: Tapas Lodge

Where: Shop 1, 24 Burns Bay Road, Lane Cove:

When: Monday – Saturday 7.30 am to 10.00 pm & Sunday 7.30 am to 4.00 pm

Website:  http://www.lodgetapas.com.au/

Join the conversation: @Lodgetapas

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