Naked for Satan is a pintxos (similar to tapas, snack sized items usually served on a slice of bread and held together with a toothpick, which originates from the Basque area of northern Spain) and vodka bar that opened recently on Brunswick St in the Moran and Cato building where Filter cafe used to be (though it occupies much more space within the building than Filter did). The space offers different shaped rooms or zones, some open, some more secluded. I visited on a Wednesday evening with a fellow blogger friend.
The interior is saturated with rich warm colour and lit with the kind of mellow light that inspires intimacy but is also the bane of food bloggers trying to take photos without annoying fellow customers with flash. I apologise in advance for my photos and refer readers to the far superior photos in some of the other reviews, which are listed below.
We agreed that it was far too warm inside, and it was quiet and a cool (but not cold) spring night. Perhaps the heat was turned up too much, but I imagine it could be stifling in here in warmer weather with weekend crowds. I hope the air conditioning is strong.
The heat led to me choosing to try their signature beer, which is made by Matilda Bay. I have always liked sweeter and / or citrus scented beers like those made by Matilda Bay and Little Creatures, and having grown up in Perth I drank a lot of them. This new beer is in the same style but is perhaps even more unusual. Whereas the Little Creatures pale ale, for example, has lemon and lime flavours, the Naked for Satan beer has a pineapple flavour. It’s delicious.
The food is simple but diverse. I didn’t count how many different pintxos they serve – perhaps about 20. I can’t remember all the ones I had and I can’t refer to the menu because it is not on their website, which is a single splash page that links to their Facebook and email. Compared to the well designed and implemented online presence of Fitzroy’s other notable new restaurant Huxtable, for example, this is a disappointing oversight.
Most of the pintxos are cold and you serve yourself from the front bar. Staff also walk hot pintxos around on platters – I tried a croquetta and it was tasty. Each is $2 and you pay by saving the toothpicks, which are counted by the bar when you pay.
The best one I tried was a slice of bread with blue cheese, on which sat a slice of crumbed and deep fried eggplant, which was covered with a sweet sticky graze or sauce. Another featuring egg salad and prawns was also delicious. None were disappointing. There are also two sweet pintxos, and I tried the prune in armagnac (the other is a small canoli). The prune is good but nowhere near as rich or delicious as the same dish at Boire on Smith St (though theirs are more expensive).
The wine list features about 7 whites and 7 red by the glass, including Spanish varieties from Australian and European wineries. After the beer I tried a Spanish verdejo, which was floral and most enjoyable. I’m not entirely convinced by the wine though as it also contains a red from Waterwheel winery from Bendigo, and I have never liked their wines.
My first impression was good and the staff were friendly and helpful, but that is qualified by the fact that I was there on a relatively quiet night. The atmosphere when the venue is full could be very different. My friend and I had about 8 pintxos and two drinks each, which cost about $30 each. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to sample the pintxos experience, and Naked for Satan is worth visiting at least once.