Originally started as a French restaurant, Arcadia Gastronomique is a Spanish and European inspired restaurant in the heart of Ascot Vale.
Self described as ‘sophisticated casual’, this is exactly the feeling you get as you first walk through the doors. With warming decor made up of dark wood and rich colour tones, Arcadia’s ambience is instantly comfortable. The antique fittings and polished wood floors, usually reserved for fine dining, are offset by cloth-less tables and paper napkins. To add to the ambience, there are some lovely and very aesthetically pleasing male waiters to take care of you.
Spanish tapas restaurants have been all the rage for a while now but Arcadia Gastronomique manages to keep the style going strong with simple, tasty, seasonal tapas and raciones (larger portioned tapas) which are complemented by an equally appetising selection of main meals and paellas.
What we ate -
Champiñones Pesto - Whipped cheese & pesto stuffed button mushrooms with Spanish romesco sauce
There are plenty of mushroom dishes to choose from on the Arcadia Gastronomique menu and it can be difficult deciding which to get. These stuffed mushrooms were fantastic. The cheese and pesto inside, along with the Romesco sauce, was subtle enough to allow the earthy mushroom flavour to shine through, while still having enough bite to add an extra element to the dish. The outside crust was a nice addition as it added a crunch to the otherwise smooth texture of the inner mushroom.
Baby Chorizo with Fresh Baked Bread
This simple dish is a must for lovers of good quality chorizo. This spicy, flavoursome Spanish sausage is fairly rich but its small size means its not too overwhelming.
Calamares Fritos – Fried Calamari Rings with Aioli Sauce
Although these calamari rings were no different than any you would find at many pubs and restaurants all over town, they were still beautifully cooked. The calamari was tender, the crumb nice and crisp and there was no oily residue that often comes with fried foods. The garlic aioli was perhaps a little too garlic-y for some tastes which made the dish a little rich after a while.
Pimiento de Piquillo con Queso de Cabra – Spanish Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Goat’s Cheese on Salad with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
These stuffed peppers are very similar to those you would find in the antipasto section of any European deli. While the flesh of the peppers was not as soft as some, the goats cheese was mild and creamy and paired well with the subtle spice of the peppers.
Pincho de Tortilla – Spanish Potato Tortilla with Aioli Sauce
When you hear the word ‘tortilla’ you most likely imagine the Mexican flat bread made from either corn or wheat. This Spanish tortilla is probably closer in appearance and taste to the French potato gratin. While not as rich or creamy as a French gratin, this dish was still very tasty. The layers of potato were perfectly cooked (no raw bits in the middle or overcooked bits at the edges) and had subtle hints of spice and garlic throughout. The small amount of garlic aioli served with it was a nice touch.
Pincho Moruno – Moroccan-style Chicken Skewer
I’ve eaten my fair share of chicken skewers throughout the years and these would have to be one of the better ones. Made from chicken thigh, they were juicy and tender with a well balanced mix of Moroccan spices. They were certainly satisfying and would be perfect for those who have a less adventurous palate.
Spanish Churros with Rich Chocolate Sauce
These churros were unfortunately nothing special. There wasn’t the contrast of the crunchy outside and fluffy inside that you get with the best churros but they were certainly acceptable. Despite the slightly lacklustre churros, the rich chocolate sauce had a nice hint of spice that is traditional with Spanish hot chocolate.
While the churros were not as satisfying as I would have hoped, there are a variety of other desserts to choose from and having had the Creme Catalan Foam on a previous occasion, I can highly recommend it.
To sum it up: Tapas are traditionally served in bars in Spain as they allow diners to enjoy socialising without the distraction of having to consume a large meal, and the quiet, intimate environment created at Arcadia is perfect for this kind of dining experience. With a very inviting and comfortable atmosphere, great food and pleasant and helpful staff, Arcadia Gastronomique is a great place to eat.
152 Union road
Ascot Vale 3032
(03) 9375 2751