UPDATE: No pinxtos on the counter much any more, but still delish tapas plates and a rooftop bar.
In the old Zico premises next to The Tasting Room on Courtenay you will now find Basque.
And yes, they have pinxtos on the bar from 5pm like they do in Spain ($2.50 each), so you can cruise in, grab a drink, select a pinxto or two from the bar and enjoy.
The pinxtos included many things on bread (frittata, chorizo and olive, baby octopus) as well as ham and cheese croquettes, arancini (the Spanish equivalent anyway) and many other very easy finger foods which changed as the evening went along.
The drinks included Spanish cava (bubbles, not Island-style!), wines, sangria and craft beers as well as a good complement of NZ offerings.
The tapas menu operates from 3pm with the expected items like patatas bravas, empanadillas, albondigas (Spanish meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce), grilled green beans with flaky sea salt etc, pretty much all priced between $8 and $13. They looked to be fairly decent helpings when we saw some pass by so I suspect you’d do very well here without breaking the bank (unlike some places where a small mortgage is required).
Additional to the pinxtos and tapas are some traditional mains from 5.30pm, also at reasonable prices between $18 and $23 (excluding the steak). We partook of the Marmitake firm white Basque fish stew with spicy potato and tomato cooked in a traditional clay pot and the chorizo, beef and paprika burger (it was pretty close still to WOAP time) with tomato, caramelized onions, roasted capsicum, melted cheddar and patatas bravas.
Both were very good. The Marmitake was tender, well balanced and lightly tingly, and the burger included chunks of chorizo and offered with additional spicy sauces for those inclined beyond the standard tingle.
The environment was cosy and relevant, and the crowning glory on the night we were there – superb service from a delightful witty, charming and good looking bar lad who was 100% in the right role.
Nice one Basque.