It’s North v South at Tapas Revolution, Shoreditch

15 Oct 2017

Tapas has always terrified me. I have nightmares about tiny plates ‘smudged’ with food. Leaving the restaurant hungrier than when I arrived, with a bill so long I’ve destroyed the Amazon printing it off. But with a set price for the Tapas Revolution lunch menu (£9) at the very least, the latter wouldn’t be a problem and my big ol’ carbon footprint would be able to take a siesta.

Their spot on Bethnal Green Road in Shoreditch is part of a modern complex, all glass windows and doors, so even on the cloudiest, most miserable Monday the restaurant is oozing Mediterranean vibes with blue tiles and sausage hanging on the walls. Admittedly it’s not quite the Costa Brava, but the rain splattered pavements of East London are as good as, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Their new lunch menu North vs South is dog eat dog; getting diners to decide if the tastiest tapas comes from the North or the South of Spain. Brutal.

My dining partner and I got ready to put the menus to the test as the table filled with little plates. They stacked up quickly and each one struggled for space like commuters in the lift at Goodge Street station.

The first fight was between the toasted bread, of which the southern Pan De La Casa, knocked the northern Pan Con Tomate out the ring with its punchy tomato and garlic sauce hidden under thin slices of serrano ham. The ambitious flavour won me over, especially against the olive oil, garlic and chopped tomato of its rival, which was too timid and subtle to win this round.

Around food I am anything but ‘chulo’, so I dived into the bowl of crispy calamari with as much force as a bull running towards a red flag, dipping it into the aioli sauce on its journey into my mouth. The squid was perfect; sitting soft and chewy inside a light crispy batter. A great accompaniment to the hot and fluffy Patatas Bravas drizzled with spicy tomato sauce, that was patiently waiting for its turn to be devoured.

For the final round the Chorizo a La Sidra pulled out all the stops. Little balls of spiced Asturian sausage roasted with cider were sweet and sticky, the kind of powerful flavour that made me want to twirl around the place like a flamenco dancer on speed, but I remained seated as I wasn’t ready to embarrass myself so early on in the day. It mercilessly beat the classic Spanish omelette Tortilla de Patatas, which with its mix of potato, onion and egg seemed too dense to accompany the rest of the food. On its own with some salad though it would have been a different ball game altogether.

Each plate put in quite a performance, but by full-time there was still no clear winner and I just couldn’t decide between North or South. I was, however, beginning to get the hang of this whole Tapas thing, but getting to a professional level is going to take some practice. Luckily with food this great it’s going to be easy to put the work in.


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