A taste of Spain at QVM
El Rincon is dedicated to providing guests with an immersive Spanish experience, transporting you to the heart of the Spain with not only the food and drink, but its genuine passion for hospitality and authenticity.
Specialising in traditional Spanish tapas and adorned with Spanish decor and memorabilia, El Rincon is a visual and culinary feast.
While initially opening more than five years ago, the restaurant has just reopened their doors in Queen Victoria Market’s (QVM) redeveloped Food Hall, with director Manuel Jiminez-Navarro feeling “very happy and very hopeful” to be welcoming guests back.
“Although not professionally trained, my grandmother was a great chef, so as kids we were introduced to all the main traditional Spanish dishes,” Manuel said.
“When you taste food, it’s like an imprint on your fingers – the taste stays with you.”
The oldest of four, Manuel took in an interest in Spanish cuisine from an early age where he would help his uncles in bars, igniting his passion in serving people and creating unforgettable experiences.
While the kitchen is being run by Chef Kirby, Manuel is responsible for designing the dishes and ensuring that the venue stays true to its authentic roots.
“I always tried for El Rincon to be a place of excellence; I take it very seriously,” Manuel told CBD News.
There are “no excuses” when it comes to quality at El Rincon, with Manuel insisting on using extra virgin oil from Spain, complimented by 50 per cent of its products sourced directly from “the largest pantry in the world” at QVM.
El Rincon also embraces traditional techniques over shortcuts, one example being their Spanish omelette which is prepared by poaching and slow cooking onion and potato in olive oil, rather than boiling the potato.
“We’re very particular about what we do, we even import our own squid ink from the North of Spain for our paella.”
Before opening El Rincon, Manuel had been a long-time supporter of QVM for more than 40 years, even sharing his grandmother’s irresistible sangria recipe with market-goers at the Running Bull Sangria stall during the summer night markets.
With the new redevelopments in the Food Hall, Manuel is confident that the market and El Rincon will continue going from “strength to strength” with its reopening.
“QVM is the pride of Victoria, not one single person comes to Victoria without visiting the market,” he said.
“It’s been a great investment on behalf of the Melbourne City Council and has been extremely well accepted by people so far; it looks great.” •
El Rincon is located at 69 Victoria St and is open from 11am to 9pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, 10am to 9pm on Thursday, 10am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.