That Omar Alibhoy is so very talented.
He has just opened a new stand along outpost of Tapas Revolution in uber hip Shoreditch but this one has a completely different menu. There are a few items that are recognisable from his previous 2 outlets but there are many exciting new dishes on offer here. This is not your average Tapas restaurant as you will see below. I think the name might do it some injustice.
The 100 seater space is dominated by a copper topped bar and lots of high tables. Along one wall are some banquet seating. The open kitchen is designed to be the heart of the restaurant.
On the menu is simply divided into nibbles, eggs, ham, vegetables, fish and meat. Daily specials are announced on a board and they do a lunch special too.
There is nothing average about the food here. Omar explains that the ham is of the best quality, the croquettas are not just mushrooms but cepes and truffles, the courgette salad is filled with truffle foam, ciabatta with tomatoes that they flew in from Spain themselves. He is passionate about using the best quality products for his dishes and even to the point of making a loss on some dishes. The produce he uses in this restaurant is top notch. The Iberico jamon is by Joselita which costs about £500 per leg. In London you can only find this in Joel Robuchon. On the menu, Jamón ibérico de bellota Joselito (£10.95) has been declared the best ham in the world!
Croquetas de ceps y trufa (£5.50) truffle, boletus mushrooms and bechamel croquettes.
A small earthenware bowl is delivered to the table and without the explanation you might not think too much of the contents. It might just be another stew. But it is not. It is actually slow cooked Iberian pork cheeks braised with chestnuts and chocolate sauce (Carrilleras ibéricas al chocolate). Tenderised by the low heat and bathed in an unctuous sauce. 5 litres of quality red wine and 50 l of beef stock is reduced to 2 litres to make this sauce. The result is an rich sauce, coating melt in your mouth tender meat. Delightful contrasts to the meat are introduced by nuggets of chestnuts and chunks of new potatoes. At £8.65, this is dish is an absolute steal.
The dish of red mullet and barley and saffron sauce (Salmonete al azafrán £8.50) is the dish that keeps on giving. Umami rich barley cooked in a vat of slowly simmered fish and shellfish stock, infused with saffron and the red mullet is perfectly pan fried with a crispy skin just makes this possibly one of the best dishes I have had in a long while. The way the fish is handled is a testament to the abilities of the chefs in this kitchen.
Vegetable dishes are not an after thought here. This pretty plate is a courgette salad, the name just undersells it. Ribbons of courgettes are filled with flavour from the truffle foam, Idazabal smoked cheese and hazelnut dressing.
Desserts are not on the menu but choices rotate daily. We tasted all three that were available that night, the Spanish Flan, the Torrijas which is just the best thing since sliced brioche and a chocolate pot concoction. The Torrijas needs to have a special mention. A thin slice of brioche, dipped in a an egg, milk, cinammon and sugar mixture and fried. It’s basically a spanish french toast but done of so well. This was served with some cream and is usually eaten during Easter.
To go with the fab food, you can choose from a large selection of Spanish craft beers and a big choice of Spanish gins. There are lots of wine by the glass and bottles start from about £17.
If I worked or lived near Shoreditch, this would be a regular haunt. It has definitely redefined Tapas for me. The quality of produce they use and the precise cooking makes the food here just sensational. This could be the best new opening in the area.
Do you have a favourite Tapas restaurant in London?
58 Bethnal Green Road
London E1 8JW
EatCookExplore was a guest of Tapas Revolution