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“Diners beware”

el perro tapas & pizza
Ranked #2 of 17 Restaurants in Penguin
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: USD 9 - USD 23
Restaurant details
Reviewed 9 June 2017 via mobile

El Perro's advertising material says it has an "authentic Spanish Dinner menu" but our meal was nothing like anything we have experienced in our visits to Spain and indeed the food was nothing like the descriptions on the menu!
Penguin's supermarkets and takeaways close by 7pm on a Saturday night. El Perro and the local hotel are the only options for out of accommodation eating and drinking after 7pm in the town. Only a third of the tables were occupied at El Perro on this Sat night in Early June but service was not attentive and the claims of Spanish authenticity were already looking shaky after we learned of the establishment's pride in the House Pot Pie - "Cottage pie", described as "meatballs with veggies and a topping of mashed potatoes". We were not surprised by the Australianised pizza offerings with the addition of Spanish ham (although cranberries, pineapples and chicken pizza were a new touch).
The young friendly female table attendant clearly and enthusiastically explained the menu, including that the house Tapas were "like entrees". Her recommendation about the very good Alhambra beer ($11) was spot on and after a joint effort to uncork the excellent Spanish red (Ebano tempranillo $42), we looked forward to tasting some food. To begin, we ordered a shared serve of the Pork Belly with Apple purée and shavings of sweet potato ($20) - four large lightly spiced slabs of succulent pork - many times tapas size but very tasty. We became cautiously optimistic about the rest of the meal but our Mains were very disappointing, not the least because they bore no resemblance to their descriptions given on the Menu or by the wait staff.
As one of us has an allergy to both chilli and paprika, we read menus very carefully to avoid issues but at El Perro this was not possible. The serve of "Tasmanian mussels cooked in white wine with our house bread and lemon" ($20) did actually have one small slice of chargrilled toast and one lemon cheek on the side but instead of the expected fragrant poaching in white wine, the mussels had been cooked in a tomato-based sauce containing too harsh chilli and/or paprika that totally overwhelmed the taste of the mussels, many of which were also over cooked and shrivelled.
The second Main described in the Menu as "Char grilled chicken breast with lemon on parsnip purée" ($28) was in fact a messy pile of shredded poached chicken strewn over a smear of purée along with many stewed lemon slices and lots of very al dente broccoli flowerets - not a charred item in sight.
To accompany the protein-based mains we had also ordered a side of 'tapas' fried Polenta ($13) but without the Bravos sauce, being wary of chilli. This plate of fried polenta slabs was inedible with a stale, chewy, oily consistency and a very tough crust. Photographs of all these dishes have been included with this review.
El Perro markets itself as a "Spanish restaurant with a difference" but diners should not have to tolerate so much difference between the menu descriptions and the meals on offer.

1  Thank twofromLonnie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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32 - 36 of 126 reviews

Reviewed 24 May 2017 via mobile

After $75 for three tapas and two drinks we went across the road to the Grand Neptune because we were still hungry and we were not prepared to order any more food.

Four small prawns and three button sized scallops, which were dry and chewy, does not a memorable tapas dish make. We also had the meat balls which were dry and tasteless.

In all very disappointed and would not recommend to anyone.

Thank JohnVee49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2017 via mobile

Had been raving about restaurant to friends, so off we did head last night. We were late due to an emergency but staff didn't mind. Tapas were great except couldn't taste truffle on chips which we chose after waitress raved on about how great they tasted. Cottage Pie very average especially served only with chips, why would you? Too many potatoes. Hanging kebab over cooked leaning towards charcoal & unchewable. Beer batter pink ling was flavourless, didn't even get a tartar sauce or aioli so very boring meal. The only thing that was good was pork belly but very uncrispy chewy crackling. Verdict is, not visiting again, think they have lost the chef they had when last we visited in Feb. Hope they find another! Also noticed restaurant very empty compared to last visit when it was packed. Nice atmosphere & friendly staff.

3  Thank formmelater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2017 via mobile

We visited for dinner based on good TA reviews. We ordered tapas to share between 2 couples. We were very disappointed as this place had great reviews. For us the salmon croquettes and the meatballs were very dry and tasteless, the prawn and scallop dish had 5 small prawns and 4 tiny leathery scallops. It was very overdone. The only stand out dish was the pork belly which was moist and delicious. All in all expensive for what we got and we wouldn't return.

1  Thank Clare M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2017

I had my first El Perro pizza around 18 months ago and it was very ordinary with absolute cheese overload, floating in grease. I that I would give it another try hoping things had changed. How disappointing, the pizza tonight would have to be close to the worst I have every had......again, cheese overload even when we asked for not too much, large strips of bacon that really needed to be cooked first, chicken bone in the pizza. Something that looked like barbecue sauce oozing from it. Would highly recommend you give it a miss. Maybe the tapas are good, I'm not game to give it a try. Will not be returning or recommending

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Thank Christine T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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