Encasa, Spanish for yum!
OK, not really. I’m not sure if in the future when kids are asked in their Spanish speaking HSC exam to say the Spanish word for yum, how many will respond by saying Encasa! But at least for me, I’ve associated Encasa with everything that is good about Spanish food!
I still remember the exact day quite clearly when we tried Encasa Deli on Bathurst Street for the first time, the first bite into the Bocadillo (Spanish style sandwich on freshly baked baguette) it was like the happiest moment ever! And I also remember vividly the day when we intended to have lunch at Encasa Deli, but to find their doors permanently closed (a notice on their window stating that due to the Sydney Metro construction, their building had been earmarked for demolition). Now that was one of the saddest moments ever! But there is a silver lining to this story, a couple of months ago I learnt that the Deli had re-emerged in Sydney Westfields, as Encasa Rapido….. for those who didn’t do HSC level Spanish, Rapido is pretty much Spanish for Express!
So on this day after walking in the 35 degree heat to get to Westfields, we slowly cooled off as we climbed the 5 levels up to the foodcourt and when we located Encassa Rapido, ‘Me so Happito’!
The selection of Bocadillos seemed more extensive than their old Bathurst street store. From memory, I thought the Deli perhaps only had like 6 types to choose from? But now we looked at a list of around 12 options and they all sounded so good!
Running through the list, there were easily 5 Bocadillos that I could of settled on (the Argentino – South American sausage with Chimichurri; The Cubano; and the Chorizo, were 3 of them), but we ended up ordering the Iberico (with 17 month cured meat- $19) and the Calamares (English translation = Calamari – $12). Oh yeah, the Bocadillos come in 2 sizes, a mini for $9 and the Jumbo for $12. After at least 2 years since our last Encasa Bocadillo, we had to be crazy if we didn’t get the jumbos! So after placing our orders, we were given a buzzer so you could go and find yourselves some seats (Oh yeah, for an extra $5, you can turn your Bocadillos into a meal with fries and a drink).
After a 5 minute wait, our food were ready and we elected to takeaway to enjoy (as usual, Westfields was pretty crowded on this Saturday lunch-hour).
Encasa had changed their packaging, previously the Bocadillos were wrapped in foil (which was easy to eat if you were on the go); now they came in a cardboard box which is much easier to eat if you’re sitting down. And the rolls were now cut in half, which made it easy for swapsies when in the past they came in one long unbroken baguette.
I tried the Iberico first, the meat had a nice strong flavour to it, I’d describe it to be like Prosciutto but even more intense flavoured than that. However the only downside was that it was quite difficult to tear with your teeth, so you inevitably ended up pulling half of your meat out of your baguette in the first bite. *Sad look*.
The Calamari was what I remembered it to be! It was absolutely perfect! When we were walking to Westfields, I was telling my wife…. “If Rapido is the same as the Deli, I’m definitely getting the Calamari!” As I’ve been literally thinking about having that Tasty Calamari on and off for the past 2 years! And it lived up to the 2 years worth of building expectation, the calamari was crunchy as it’s lightly battered in bread crumbs, then pan fried so that the outside is crispy while the Calamari is soft, almost melting in the mouth.
Although the Calamari were outstanding, the star of the Bocadillo was still the baguette! At the Deli they used to bake their own bread, not sure if they can still manage that at their Westfields foodcourt store, but there is something different about their bread! I’m thinking that it has less yeast in it? So it doesn’t rise much, leaving the bread more dense, chewy and satisfying! Even though the baguettes aren’t as long as a Subway foot long and it’s not bursting with salad like a Subway sub, but I always feel more full after an Encassa Bocadillo, than anything Subways could ever offer (and in the end, the prices aren’t far off from each other). Not to mention how the baguette is oily and super crispy! I’m not privy to their secret methods, but if its even remotely similar to how Italian Focaccia bread is made, then I’m thinking several times along the baking process I’m sure the baguettes are lovingly smeared with olive oil. Yummo!
But be warned, be prepared for simple food; in both of our Bocadillos, there literally were only 2 ingredients inside of the baguette. It was just your protein and a sauce, for the Calamari the bread was spread with an aioli sauce; the cured meat was only paired with olive oil so all the flavours were coming from the cured meat alone!
End verdict? 4.5 stars from 5 (3 from 3 for food; 0.5 from 0.5 for customer service; 0.5 from 0.5 for atmosphere (the atmosphere was down to Westfield’s set-up, and they had music playing throughout the foodcourt); and 0.5 from 1 for Value for money as the $19 for the cured meat was on the high side, but if we didn’t get the most expensive Bocadillo on the menu, the prices were between $11 and $16 for a jumbo).
There is so much on offer at the Westfields foodcourt, but if you’ve never tried an Encasa Bocadillo before, you just don’t know what you’re missing out on! Looking at their page on Zomato, they only have 23 reviews? I’m going to call it now….Encasa Rapido is a ‘Hidden Gem’, a place which has great food, but doesn’t have the volume of customer patronage as it deserves! Go out and try it! I guarantee you won’t regret it!
Encasa Rapido- Saturday 5 January (4.5 stars)
PH: (02) 9232 8032
Level 5, Sydney Westfields Food Court, Pitt and Market Street, Sydney NSW
Mon-Wed 8am – 5pm
Thurs 8am – 8pm
Fri 8am – 5pm
Sat-Sun 10am – 5pm