You Need To Try This is a running account of all the good drinks and dishes we come across over the course of our professional and private lives (that we have the rare presence of mind to photograph in the moment). If you want us to try something in particular, tag your social posts with #Islandist and we’ll send a nose over as fast as we can.
There comes a time in many a meal when the desire to completely immerse your entire face into whatever it is you’re eating feels not only natural, but also socially acceptable. People will understand! Such is the case with the gambas al ajillo at Chorizo & Co. on Fort Street.
This is one of the most common Spanish restaurant dishes out there, as ubiquitous as a house pisto or patatas bravas. There are regional variations but the typical gist runs thusly: shrimp (or prawns) with a shit ton of garlic soaked in a (sometimes) buttery olive oil sauce licked with either white wine or dry sherry. Some fresh herbs, paprika and either cayenne or red chili flakes are usually added to the sauce for impact and colour (which can range from a subdued yellow to an electric red) but the star of the whole is the dizzyingly aromatic ajillo – the garlic – hence the forgivable impulse to attack it with your hungry face.
At Chorizo & Co. (which still feels freshly redone after last year’s ownership change, conceptual tweak and welcome facelift), the gambas are locally caught and perfectly cooked Side Stripe shrimp, and there’s maybe ten of them per order. Though the sauce – all butter and nosy white wine – waves the Gallic flag high, it’s one of the gentlest and least spicy iterations I’ve tried. Without that zap, the subtle taste of the shrimp isn’t drowned out by the din of the garlic, which strums the palate like a pro. (More mandolin. Less banjo.) Once the shrimp are devoured, the supplied side of bread will make short, delicious work of the generous sauce puddle that remains. The cost? $15.