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Two months ago, I turned 25 and there was plenty to celebrate. In between all the drama of a quarter-life-crisis, I’d resigned from my day job to pursue the free-spirited life of an entrepreneur.
So the last thing I wanted to do was organise a function. But I did it anyway.
Velero sits on Woolloomooloo Wharf and offers sexy alfresco dining. Their fuss-free function menu featured various options including the $55 set menu which is what I went for.

25th birthday party at Velero: marinated olives, table setting and cocktail
Sourdough with marinated olives and my cocktail (I forgot what it was…)

$55 set menu

Tapas to share
Marinated olives with herbs, garlic, chilli, lemon, orange and fennel seed
Freshly shucked Sydney Rock Oysters dressed with lemon
Croquetas de Jamon
Roast mushrooms with chilli, garlic, herbs & Manchego
Deep-fried cuttlefish served with smoked chilli aioli
Pan-fried chorizo picante with chickpea puree and peppers
Mains, a choice of
Roast wild barramundi with chorizo, roast peppers, chickpeas, herbs and olive oil
Grilled Jindalee sirloin with patatas a lo pobre and roast garlic and paprika butter
Roast spatchcock with pan fried wild mushrooms, cavalo nero and tozino
Fettuccine with portobello, pine and porcini mushrooms, parmesan and parsley
Seafood paella with prawns, mussels, cuttlefish, chorizo and saffron
Sides to share
Rocket and manchego salad with herbs and PX balsamic
Patatas Bravas: fried potatoes with salsa picante and aioli

The tapas were all individually delicious but the serving portions didn’t seem thought-through. The serving sizes were a little bit too small and there was never an even number of items to distribute around.

25th birthday party at Velero: freshly shuckled sydney rock oysters, deep fried cuttlefish  and roast mushrooms
Sydney rock oysters, deep-fried cuttlefish and roast mushrooms

The Sydney rock oysters were served au natural -they were tasty and seductive. The cuttlefish was my favourite of the tapas. They were cooked to perfection… Piping hot and not too chewy.

25th birthday party at Velero: croquetas de jamon chorizo
Croquetas de jamon and chorizo

The croquettes (or in Spanish: croquetas) were scrumptious too. Inside the lightly breaded fritters was a fluffy smooth mix of mashed potato and ham. It was just what we needed to combat the cold breeze.

25th birthday party at Velero: rocket and manchego salad with herbs and PX balsamic
Rocket and manchego salad with herbs and PX balsamic

As for the mains, strangely enough, everyone pretty much ordered either the paella or the sirloin. However, the unfortunate thing about fusion restaurants is not knowing what you’ll be getting. Velero, being a mix of Spanish and Italian, was supposed to give us the best of both worlds. And it did, until the paella was served. Because it wasn’t served on a traditional paella pan, we didn’t get the crisp bottom layer of golden rice and the half of a lemon was most definitely more than enough. According to my guests, the serving size varied from one to another as well.
But the good news is that everyone who ordered the steak (including me) gave it the thumbs up. The paprika butter was so flavoursome, it added another whole dimension to my Jindalee sirloin -which by the way, was a perfect medium.

25th birthday party at Velero: side dish of patatas bravas
Side dish of patatas bravas

25th birthday party at Velero: seafood paella
Seafood paella

25th birthday party at Velero: grilled jindalee sirloin with patatas a lo pobre and roast garlic and paprika butter
Grilled Jindalee sirloin with patatas a lo pobre and roast garlic and paprika butter

Hit: We had really lovely service matched by the beautiful waterside views of the city skyline and promenade.
Miss: The food was a slight let down and there was a $5 per person cakeage fee.

25th birthday party at Velero: group photo of table
Group photo

25th birthday party at Velero: poloroid photos with friends

Thanks to the fantastic support of my family and friends, the last 25 years has been a memorable one. The next 25 will no doubt be full of endless opportunities and fun times. And to you, my dear readers, thank you for your words of encouragement and for sharing my love of good food.

P.S. There’s still 6 days left to bake a tart for your chance to win a $175 Julie & Julia prize pack. 5 runners-up will also win double passes. Click here for more information.
Velero on Urbanspoon
Shop 2, 6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo
Phone: (02) 9356 2222
Web: velero.com.au


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