|Tasty tortilla & rocking Romesco/|
Sometimes, it’s nice to be a wee bit cultured. To be fair, living in a city that hosts the world’s biggest arts festival each year, it’s hard not to be. Yet the partaking of great music, comedy and theatre in Edinburgh isn’t merely restricted to four weeks in August. A case in point was the recent visit of the National Theatre‘s utterly superb production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – a play unlike any I have seen and which thoroughly deserves the multitude of awards bestowed upon it. However, prior to feeding our minds and souls, JML and I needed to feed our stomachs!
|Sublime salt-cod fritters – Buñuelos de bacalao & alioli.|
Now I understand there is a degree of commonality between food hailing from the east and west of the Mediterranean: great fresh ingredients from fragrant, sun-baked land and clear azure seas; the influence of different cultures that historically criss-crossed the region, especially those historical Arabic and Ottoman empires that made familiar formerly exotic produce and spices; and the propensity for dishing up all this really good fare on little plates and dishes. Yet despite sharing these characteristics, the food of Spain and Greece is, nonetheless, different. Could it really be successfully melded together?
|Sutzukakia pilafi – Greek meatballs with rice.|
The first trio of plates arrived in quick time, and were very nicely presented. A chunky slice of tortilla de papas – a take on Spanish potato omelette, new to me – was in itself well put together, but paired with the almond/hazelnut, red pepper, and roasted garlic loveliness that was the accompanying Romesco sauce made this something special. Equally good were the Buñuelos de bacalao – salt cod fritters accompanied by alioli to you and me…
|Saganaki- possibly the best cheese toasty ever?|
However, our third dish was Greek influenced, in the form sutzukakia pilafi – spiced meatballs with rice. The spherical meaty component had a really good depth of flavour, aided by the addition of – I think – oregano and cumin, and the tomato infused mini-risotto made for a satisfying accompaniment. So hats off to the eastern Mediterranean segment of the menu, as well. With JML and I having niftily seen off our first three choices it was time for round two.
|Chickpeas, spinach, pancetta – simply divine.|
Such richness – splendid though it was – needed a counterpoint. This came in the form of spinach and chickpeas with pancetta. I have had a tapa very similar to this in Seville, and Tápame‘s offering was spot on in terms authenticity, with the nutty-earthy simplicity of the chickpeas harmonising with the iron-tinged bitterness of the spinach, which were then accented by salty-sweet bacon accompanied by a hint of garlic. This was a shining example of the fact that a dish doesn’t necessarily need lots of complex preparation and ingredients to be really good.
|Succulent croquetas – smoky mayo.|
Our final choice was a staple of tapas bars across Spain – and the UK for that matter: serrano ham croquetas. Biting through the crisp breadcrumb coat of these lozenge-shaped smashers released the velvety, pork-infused béchamel within. Dunked in the smoky/spicy, pimenton-infused mayonnaise accompaniment, they were deeply satisfying. If only it weren’t for the immediacy of curtain up, we would have most certainly ordered more.
Atmosphere – 7/10
Service – 7.5/10
Value – 8/10