Eat at the Bar: Recipes Inspired by Travels in Spain, Portugal, Italy & Beyond
by Matt McConnell with Jo Gamvros
Eat at the Bar is first a cookbook, sharing 55 recipes inspired by local farmers, providores, fishmongers and suppliers, and underpinned by the flavors Melbourne author Matt McConnell continues to cook with today: garlic, pimento, salt and the best olive oil. The line-up is a best of the best from more than 10 years of Matt's respected repertoire of tapas and raciones at his Melbourne bar and restaurant The Bar Lourinha Project. The book, like the bar, makes readers feel at once at home and familiar - even if they have not ever ventured to the city spot beloved for its food, booze, collectors' feel and old-fashioned hospitality.
The book is also more than recipes: it is part travelogue too, sharing anecdotes, narrative and stunning photography from the authors' adventures in Spain, Portugal and Europe over many years - experiences that inspired the idea and philosophy of the now decade-old space they have created in their hometown of Melbourne.
About the authors: Chef Matt McConnell and front of house pro Jo Gamvros are partners in life and work, having established Bar Lourinha in Melbourne, Australia together more than 10 years ago. In that time, their restaurant has established itself as one of a handful of beloved stayers in the city's competitive restaurant scene.
The seeds were sewn for Bar Lourinha when the couple spent extended period travelling overseas in 1997. They returned home determined to open a place that captured some of the magic they had experienced in the Catalonian capital. They describe it as homestyle hospitality, something that typifies a lot of Spanish culture: convivial, warm and giving.
Lourinha actually takes its name from a municipality in Portugal - and Matt says one of the reasons they chose it was that it wasn't definitively Portuguese or Spanish - hence it offered freedom in the restaurant on the creative side of food, a freedom that it is reflected in their book. Ditto, the idea that the best drinking experiences are accompanied by food: hence, Eat at The Bar.