Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Tapas Revolution - Westfield

Just before Christmas Mr Tapas took me out on a date in London, fully organised ahead of time and he knew exactly where he was taking me too: Tapas Revolution. This is not a regular occurrence for us.

I already mentioned this Spanish paradise in London and the man behind it, Omar Allibhoy, in a previous post about Olives from Spain, an initiative backed by him.

Christmassy view from the top, we got lost but we found it
There was the Christmas rush, there was an ice rink, I didn't mind either as we looked for Tapas Revolution, a search that took us a little while as it didn't seem to be signposted anywhere but, as we say in Spain, preguntando se llega a Roma (basically meaning that, by asking, you'll find your way).

Mr Tapas asked me on the way what I fancied eating, for some reason I had a craving for croquettes, the Spanish kind with bechamel inside, the best way to use leftover meat (or even eggs that need eating soon by boiling them and making them part of the filling). Croquetas are something that I haven't mastered yet but I that I might one day, although to be honest, once you have prepared the mixture and before dividing and breadcrumbing it, it's all just so tempting sitting there. Who doesn't like bechamel?

Anyway, I was a tad disappointed to find out that there were no croquetas but quite impressed with the layout, the décor, the selection of food on the menu and the service so we were off to a good start and I soon forgot all about them. We chose to share the Chef's Choice set menu: Jamón serrano de Teruel (Spanish cured ham), Pan con tomate (toasted bread, tomato, garlic and olive oil), Pulpo a la gallega (octopus with potatoes and paprika), Paella de marisco (seafood paella), Pinchos morunos (marinated beef skewers), Tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) and Chorizo al horno (oven-roasted chorizo), £15.50 per person.


It was all served promptly and the tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) was exactly how I like it, very spongy and not at all dry. Perfect for a bocadillo in fact! Take-away Bocadillos de tortilla de patatas are already included on the menu and at £3.95 they would spice up those boring weekday lunches for office workers. Omar, any chance of stalls all around the country selling Bocadillos de tortilla, Bocadillos de jamón serrano, Bocadillos de calamares...? In the colder months you could add Chocolate con churros to the mix. Go on, you know it's a brilliant idea, I might just start a "Bring the chiringuito to the UK" campaign.

We were amazed by the large amount of staff but to me this was key as, together with the decoration, it was giving it the real vibe of a Tapas joint: speed of service and hustle and bustle (and not just the one happening behind us in Westfield Shopping Centre, which was surprisingly easy to block out). Our waiter, a young Spanish lad (how English do I sound?!), was really efficient and, to show just how tiny the world is, he turned out to be from my hometown, Vigo!

I had mentioned that I was going to @tapasrevolution on Twitter and Omar had mentioned that he would be there so to let someone know when we arrived, which I did. He came to see us briefly and we had a quick chat, I mentioned how he needs to add croquetas to the menu and that I would like to see him more on TV, bringing young Spanish cooking to my favourite cooking show, Saturday Kitchen, not that I'm biased or anything but we do love that programme in the Tapas household.

Omar Allibhoy
Chocolate con churros, essential ordering material
He actually popped by to see us again before we left and to check how we were finding everything, which I thought was a lovely touch. He made sure that we ordered the Chocolate con churros before we left so we did and I am so glad we did, a tiny bit of Spanish heaven was all mine for a few seconds (well, I had to share it with Mr Tapas of course). I asked whether they did it to take away and they do, so if you're ever nearby and haven't got time to stop for long, make sure you order some to take away and have a sweet few minutes with them at home. Thick Spanish chocolate, sugary deep fried dough, what's not to love?

Un cafelito, coffee in a tumbler, caffeinated bliss!
The finishing touch to a lovely afternoon came with the bill or rather the lack of it, our Galician waiter handed my husband, who had his card ready to pay, the bill and indicated we were invited and the only thing we were being charged for was the Cola Cao that at the last minute I decided to buy for my daughter, it's the Spanish hot chocolate that I grew up with and that she now has for her meriendas. We were a bit puzzled. Omar, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making a lovely date with my husband so special.

Next time you're either in Westfield or Bluewater, make sure you stop to "eat like a Spaniard".

PS: Querido Omar, please open one of these, either "Tapas Revolution" or "Tapas Revolution goes mobile" (or "on wheels"?) in Cambridge, we promise to look after it.

All photos used in this post are mine therefore my own copyright.
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