05 Oct Basingstoke’s authentic taste of Spain
Small plates, big plates, platters of Paella…who doesn’t love tapas? Whether you’re out for a cosy meal for two, or a party of friends, Tapas is the chance to try lots of different tasty delicacies from around Spain. And now Tapas Revolution’s latest restaurant has opened in Festival Place in Basingstoke which means some of the very best and most authentic Spanish ingredients are right on our doorstep.
Founded by Spanish celebrity chef Omar Allibhoy, more on him in a moment, the traditional menu is a cut above your average tapas fare and the restaurant itself is light and open with a very social feel, perfect for family meals or an evening of food and cocktails with friends.
We were invited to the opening night which meant not only sampling amazing dishes, but we also had the pleasure of the effusive Omar explaining the provenance behind the dishes. With all the enthusiasm of a puppy with a new toy, Omar quite literally brought the tastes and smells of Galicia to Basingstoke – quite a feat!
From a plate of spectacular cured ham from acorn-fed pigs to fantastic olives and bruschetta, the evening started well.
The friendly staff recommended two tapas dishes per person or three if you’re hungrier, so naturally we had 6 dishes between us including a side of patatas bravas – no tapas evening would be complete without them!
Our opening round saw us sharing the chorizo, bechamel croquettes and frittata. These were definitely our favourite dishes. The chorizo was soft and rich, a classic tapas dish with a single quality ingredient done well. Omar explained that the bechamel requires a chef to be stood stirring for four hours before it’s allowed to cool overnight, we were blown away by the amount of artisanship that went into the food.
Our second round of dishes came out shortly after and we had meatballs in tomato sauce, padron peppers and cheese and mushroom stuffed peppers.
I had mentioned to Omar that I didn’t usually like mushrooms but he said I should definitely try them. So, trusting every word he uttered, I did. I loved them, the earthiness of the mushrooms went so well with the sweetness of the peppers and creaminess of the cheese!
Another highlight was the pork belly, it was absolutely delicious, crispy on the outside and soft and juicy inside – served with a sweet and spicy sauce.
For dessert we had the churros and a chocolate fondant, both of which were amazing. The chocolate used by the chefs is not the typical chocolate used in most English desserts, but a sharper, richer, high cocoa style used more commonly across mainland Europe. It made for a really nice change to the sometimes overly sweet desserts served which can be sickly.
If I was to recommend a meal for two people (who don’t mind sharing), I would say share the “Table Mixata” sharing platter to start, followed by the “Croquetas de Jambon” (the bechamel and ham croquettes) with “Torrenznos con Mojo Dulce” (the crispy pork belly) and the “Chorizo a la Sidra”. If you’re feeling hungry you might also like a portion “Tortilla de Patatas” and the “Patatas Bravas”.
I would also like to give an honourable mention to the paella, we didn’t get any (this time) but they looked and smelled fantastic when it was served to the table next to us!
If this all sounds like a bit of what you fancy, head down to Tapas Revolution in Festival Place shopping centre. If you go to the yellow parking then you won’t have to walk around the whole shopping centre to get there! (Unless you want to, there is plenty of options for shopping around Festival Place and you’re sure to find something to tickle your fancy!)