Every weekday Bar Lourinha has a different lunch theme – Mondays are lamb stufato, then comes flaming chorizo diablo, paella valenciana and goat special.

For Fishy Fridays I had expected a large fishy lunch dish – maybe some fish stew? Apparently not. It seems that Fishy Fridays just indicates that on Fridays some of the specials are made of fish. Boo. So J, A and I had tapas instead.

If you’re on a budget I don’t recommend tapas for lunch unless you have a bird-like appetite. To feed two average-sized appetites and one enormous appetite (mine) we shared three specials: gutsy whole garfish with carrot and saffron (1.5 serves for $30), a crisp salad of shredded cabbage, radish and labna ($15) and a scallop with shredded fennel and red onion ($18).

To continue with the marine theme we tried the regular menu’s octopus and anchovy banderillas, which comprised a toothpick of tender octopus, gherkin, capsicum, jalapeno pepper and anchovy ($9).

Still hungry. I dug into the bulk of the free bread. And then requested a plate of beautifully fried and sugar-dusted churros with dulce de leche ($10) to fill in the gaps.

If I’d spent $30  for dinner at Bar Lourinha I wouldn’t have blinked, but my wallet wasn’t really used to paying $30 for lunch – though I will say that all of the dishes were delicious, with a confident balance of flavours. I also loved the eclectic junky/kitsch décor inside the narrow bar/dining area buzzing with a mix of business types, retirees and funky youngsters.

The moral of the story? I’m going to time my future visits to Bar Lourinha till after the sun sets.

If you’re at the other end of town and like tapas for lunch, try the fabulous MoVida Aqui.

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