What a little find this was! We have eaten some traditional Spanish tapas in the province of Andalusia. Maris Donkey Tapas Bar has been present in Bundaberg for the past 5 or 6 years now. However, this place, in the hot box that is Australia, could put some of the Spanish places a run for there money.
We arrived (even if we did miss the car park to start off with), and firstly you will notice that this is a ADULTS ONLY (18+) restaurant. This is because the owner wanted it this way, and then subsequently got a license for this. So, children are not allowed in at any time.
You walk in and get greeted by the most incredible wall art I think I have seen in a long time if you are a fan of the Dr. Seuss films you will love it. You have the cat in the hat and the Lorax, all drawn in chalk. Truly stunning pieces of art.
So we were sat right on the riverside (and straight away told that the wait staff would bring over some water), unfortunately, when we arrived it was already pitch black. However, you do get some downlights, showing you the occasional jumping eel. I will take this point to warn you, that you need to zip up or secure your personal belongings. Because nothing is stopping them from falling into the river to the side of you.
We ordered the following through the night;
- $10.00 – Mushroom Popcorn,
- $16.50 – Camembert,
- $14.50 – Frikadella,
- $12.50 – Cherry Bomb,
- $12.50 – Churros, and
- $12.00 – Empanada Manzuma
We loved listening to the old school music that was being played; it was just a shame that it was not loud enough to hear on the terrace. I can imagine that on busy nights the music could be lost. Having said that, though, they did have external speakers. So, I am not sure if the music gets played through these on their busier nights.
So first on our Spanish journey was the Mushroom Popcorn, these delicious crispy little bite-size pieces came with a tiny salad, lemon slice, and some garlic aioli. It would be criminal not to squeeze the lemon on them. We did not notice until a few bites in, the mushroom popcorn had sesame seeds on them. I thought this was slightly strange as the Spanish do not tend to use Sesame seeds in there cooking. However, one thing I was gobsmacked about, Tina said she liked them (and she dislikes mushrooms) a huge win for Maria Donkey Tapas Bar.
Before we could finish them, we had the baked camembert, which came with a WHOLE baked camembert, toasted bread, caramelised onion, peanuts (some were crushed more than others) and a fig chutney. I had never eaten camembert before and was dubious about trying some (because of my delicate stomach not liking to creamy things). However, I was pleasantly surprised; it was not too cheesy and found myself eating more of this than Tina did.
Along with the Frikadella and the Cherry Bombs. The Frikadella was mini pork meatballs with a slice of cucumber, beetroot and topped with garlic aioli. I found that the meatballs got cold quite quickly, but all of them were incredibly juicy. Not sure where the cucumber and beetroot slices come from! The cherry bombs were very nice. The big slab of chorizo topped with halloumi, half a cherry tomato, and a fresh basil leaf. It certainly had a strong chorizo taste which kind of overpowered the salumi taste, something that Tina agreed with as well.
Then it was time for dessert. Both Tina and I had looked over the limited desserts on offer before we had even looked at the mains. However, we knew we were going to have the Churros and the Empanada Manzana. We had eaten some pretty incredible Churros in Malaga in the south of Spain back before the Christmas of 2015. However, when these came out, they were huge! You had 5, each being around 10” in length. With the most delicious chocolate sauce smothered on top. One thing that we were missing was the fresh fruit that the menu said would be joining our heart attack on a plate.
A few minutes later (half the churros has gone at this point), my dessert came out. They were exactly as described, full of cinnamon and nutmeg. The Ice Cream was cutting through and making it a delicious dessert. However, it was the Spanish-style churros that won it for us.
When you travel up the east coast, or down. You have to hit these guys up. Arrive later than we did (6.00pm oil around 7.30pm), and you will find that this place comes alive. With good food and friendly staff, the Maria Donkey Tapas Bar is certainly somewhere we will be visiting again when we return to Australia.