THERE is nothing better than a night out with friends. Be it with people you’ve known for a while or who you’re meeting for the first time, food is always the common denominator that gathers everybody around one main idea: to enjoy a good and tasty meal.
This is what happened on a Friday night in January when a bench of lady food bloggers – Mia from Urban Foodie, Elly from The Pear Cafe, Kate from Lahloo Tea and Millie decided to meet up to share their passion for sherry.
To make the best of this sherry crawl, the tapas option came up almost immediately after the word food had been pronounced and the poor traditional 3-course menu didn’t have much of a say. We wanted sherry, we wanted food. The sharing evening was set. It would be tapas.
And that is what I love about tapas – the sharing experience that turns into an intense social moment. While everybody is picking up bites of food here and there, people start loosening up and sharing their points of view about the dishes, their taste, their texture, their look without having to steal from each other’s plates.
Compared to a 3-course menu where the choice is the key of a successful meal, tapas gives you the freedom to choose as many dishes as you wish without having to limit yourself. It gives you the liberty to move from one flavour to another this is what makes this culinary moment a more intense experience. Bye Bye strange sensation of having made the wrong choice.
Tapas is the soul of what food should be: a tasting experience where you get the chance to enjoy different bites to define your favourite dish on the menu.
Frustrating, some people would say. I agree. I understand there is a need in some people for a proper full main course that gives their palate the time to truly appreciate the subtle taste of each forkful. This moment where the dish becomes yours. Like the fox asking the Little Prince to tame him.
“To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys,” said the fox. “And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in the entire world. To you, I shall be unique in the entire world…”
Tapas and 3-course menu are two experiences that complete each other. But between these two dining styles, there is an area for a third option. A place where the frustration would be balanced by portions big enough to be enjoyed as long as needed while keeping the sharing concept. And that is what tasting menus are made for.
Chargrilled Country Style Bread
Spanish selection: Chorizo Magno, Salchichon, Morcón, Lomo
Selection of three Manchegos with Quince Membrillo
The snack, charcuterie and cheese were a good start to get the palate ready for some more interesting stuff with stronger flavours.
Roasted Tiger Prawns with Umbrian Lentils and Speck
Salt Cold Fritters with Orange Alioli
Cornish Mackerel Tartare with Apples, Celeriac and Coriander Shoots
Apart from the mackerel, the two other fish dishes were very good and tasty. The Salt Cold Fritter was a success with a nice crispy texture and strong flavours.
Confit Old Spot Pork Belly with Rosemary Scented Cannellini Beans
Braised Oxtail with Tomato Gnocchi and Bone Marrow
Both dishes were very good but the Pork Belly was the most interesting choice with a crust that stocked in the mouth in a very pleasant way.
Courgette Flowers stuffed with Goat Cheese and drizzled with Honey
Radicchio and Rocket salad with Toasted Walnut, Pear and Marjoram
Patatas Fritas with Romesco Sauce and Alioli
The three stars go to the classic tortilla while the courgette flower was a real disappointment with no true flavour.
Elly, as a introduction night to her birthday month, brought us delicious home made cookies… A wonderful treat to end that evening. It was a night where the tapas were a pretext to get to know each other better. And it worked out perfectly well. Thank you ladies!
54 Goodge Street
London, W1T 4NA
020 7637 0657