Eat at the Bar with Matt McConnell and Jo Gamvros »

Recipes inspired by travels in Spain, Portugal and beyond

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<i>Eat at the Bar</i> by Matt McConnell & Jo Gamvros

Eat at the Bar by Matt McConnell & Jo Gamvros [©Matt McConnell]


In Eat At The Bar Matt McConnell and Jo Gamvros share their love of Europe’s bar dining culture through incredible, vibrant recipes from tapas to mezethes. Retracing their travels through Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece, they explore the amazing flavours and relaxed hospitality that inspired them to embrace and redefine bar dining culture in Melbourne.

Like their own stalwart bar, Eat At The Bar makes readers feel at once at home and familiar, even if they have never ventured to Bar Lourinhã beloved for its food, booze, collectors’ feel and old-fashioned hospitality. 

First and foremost a cookbook, Eat At The Bar contains 55 recipes inspired by local farmers, providores, fishmongers and suppliers, and underpinned by the flavours Matt continues to cook with today: garlic, pimento, salt and the best olive oil.  The line-up is a best of the best from more than 10 years of his respected repertoire of tapas and raciones.

More than just recipes, Eat At The Bar is part travelogue too, sharing anecdotes, narrative and stunning photography from the authors’ adventures in Spain, Portugal and Europe over many years. These experiences have inspired the ideas and philosophy at Bar Lourinha and has led to it’s success. 

From stunning clifftop restaurants overlooking the Bay of Naples, to family-run bars in back alleys of Seville, seafood specialists on the Portuguese coast and the incredible, bustling markets of Athens, Matt and Jo leave no snack uneaten, no market unexplored, no hidden bar undiscovered, and no recipe unwritten.

About the authors

Chef Matt McConnell and front of house pro Jo Gamvros are partners in life and work, having established Bar Lourinhã together more than 10 years ago. In that time, their central Melbourne restaurant has established itself as one of a handful of beloved stayers in the city’s competitive restaurant scene.

The seeds were sewn for Bar Lourinhã when the couple spent extended period travelling overseas in 1997. They returned to Melbourne determined to open a place that captured some of the magic they had expe-rienced in the Catalonian capital. They describe it as homestyle hospitality, something that typifies a lot of Spanish culture: convivial, warm and giving.

Bar Lourinhã actually takes its name from a municipality in Portugal - and Matt says one of the reasons they chose it was that it wasn’t definitively Portuguese or Spanish - hence it offered freedom in the restaurant on the creative side of food, a freedom that it is reflected in their book. Ditto, the idea that the best drinking experiences are accompanied by food: hence, Eat at The Bar.

Matt is one of three McConnell brothers (with Andrew and Sean) who are held in the highest esteem in Australian restaurant circles. Matt is modern classically trained, having spent time as a young chef at one of the most influential small Melbourne restaurants of the 1980s, Tansy’s. He also worked for Jim Berardo and Greg O’Brien at the acclaimed Berardo’s in Noosa, a restaurant that expanded his vision and allowed him to work alongside such greats as Greg Doyle and Martin Boetz.

Eat At The Bar by Matt McConnell and Jo Gamvros is published by Hardie Grant  (Sydney, NSW; Oct 2018; Hb, 240pp, RRP A$50.00). It is available at good bookshops nationally.

It can also be purchased online via »

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October 23rd, 2018
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