Fofo by El Willy・Fofo by El
Date of review: September 30, 2016 | Reviewed by: RACHEL READ
Central has more than its fair share of see-and-be-seen restaurants high on glitz and glamour – which makes Fofo by el Willy’s casual, unpretentious atmosphere all the more appealing. That’s not to say the décor is unimpressive though; a minimalist white colour scheme is given added quirky charm thanks to chubby pig and penguin figurines dotted around the room, whilst a panoramic view of country hills and Central skyscrapers awaits those who book a window seat. A mellow 70s disco soundtrack adds further to the comfortably chilled vibe, whilst the upstairs rooftop terrace makes a great location for cocktails before or after your meal.
The playful menu easily mixes both classic tapas dishes and new twists on tradition; a perfect example of the latter is the “explosive smoked salmon air bags”, which are an exuberant start to our meal. Light pastry puffs filled with sour cream and spring onion and topped with meaty pieces of fish, these are best eaten in one bite and deliver an intense pop of vibrant flavour. The hit rate continues with 62° eggs in a crispy potato and onion “nest” with “Paletilla” Iberico ham – this is comfort food at its most delicious, combining gooey egg yolk, silky ham and addictively crunchy deep-fried potato sticks. We could happily eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner every week and still have room for more.
But the restaurant proves it can deliver the goods with traditional dishes too. The crispy suckling pig is textbook Spanish cuisine and boasts a divine crackling, juicy meat and a rich, deep sauce. It is plated as four small squares atop a bed of baby confit potatoes, onions and truffles, a spin on dauphinoise that is worth every indulgent calorie. We also enjoy the perfectly cooked “bravas” potatoes, which are complemented by a smoky hit of paprika from its spicy sauce; sadly, three giant dollops of aioli on top threaten to overwhelm the dish and we believe this would be better served as a separate dip.
When it comes to Spanish desserts, we can never turn down the chance to order churros, but we find Fofo’s rather stodgy and lacking in cinnamon and sugar. Thankfully, a sweet saviour arrives in the form of “white chocolate and yoghurt layers”; we love the tang of the beautifully smooth yoghurt cream, which mellows out the sweetness of the thin white chocolate sheets that sandwich it – all complemented by a wonderfully tart mixed berry sorbet. A winning end to a fantastic meal.
When in Spain…. or to be more exact, a Spanish restaurant… Although almost every other table opts for one of the four types of sangria, we are impressed by the extensive wine list, which spans a range of countries, price points and serving sizes. We are recommended the Paco & Lola Albariño 2013, which is excellent – crisp, light and a perfect accompaniment to our meal.
When the restaurant is quiet at the beginning of the meal, we find it quite difficult to flag down staff; this improves as the meal progresses and service is friendly without being overbearing.
A meal for two with a glass of wine each comes in at around $1200, which we think represents excellent value for great food in a Central location.