Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Restaurant and Book Review - Tapas Revolution

I had a real treat last week. I was invited to a Spanish restaurant in Wesfield Shopping Centre in West London to celebrate Omar Allibhoy's first book, Tapas Revolution, with a selection of tapas and all the dishes we tried are included in the book.

Omar Allibhoy is a very talented Spanish chef whose mission is to bring the mysteries of Spanish cooking into your home and encourage you to cook these delicious and tasty treats for your family and friends.  Omar's book includes easy to follow recipes with hints and tips to make using more local ingredients if you cannot locate the authentic Spanish.

It is very hard to get a photo in focus of Omar because this dedicated 29 year old never stands still.  He and his team were constantly on the go serving us freshly prepared morsels.  Each plateful garnered sighs and mmmmm's as we struggled to pick our favourite.

My favourite was and always is the Calamares fritos - deep fried squid. Crispy and tender with loads of taste. I could eat a huge plateful of this, served simply with a home made ailoi and slice of lemon.  Omar includes three recipes for the ailoi, two traditional and one of his own (which we sampled).

The delicate tapas that we were served included the following:

Boquerones - marinated anchovies and Tortilla Espanol - I didn't have time to photograph these two, they just flew off the plates.

Jamon Iberico - a rich, nutty flavoured jamon (ham) made from pigs that were allowed to roam freely and feast on acorns and herbs.

Pimentos De Padron - fried padron peppers. These little green jems are a game of Russian Roulette but with peppers instead of a gun.  Every now and then you get one that will blow your head off.  Guess what? The second one I had did just that. Eyes watered, nose cleared and my mouth felt like it was swollen!  Didn't last long though and normality returned so I could appreciate the next offerings.

Pulpoa la Gallega - steamed octopus with potato and pimenton.

Pinchos Morunes con Mojo Picon - marinated beef skewers and a spicy dipping sauce.
Papas Arrugadas con Nojos - wrinkled potatoes with mojo (a dip with corriander).

Pollo en Pepiturla - moorish chicken with almonds.

Croquetas de Jamon - deep fried Iberico jamon croquettes. Omar states these are the best ever outside of Spain!

Time for something sweet:

Crema Catalan - a sweet milky pudding with a touch of nutmeg.

Chouros with hot chocolate dip.

At the end of the evening I got Omar to sign my copy of his forthcoming book.  I was sent this from the publishers for early review.  The book - Tapas Revolution - will be published on 15th August, 2013 at rrp £20.00.

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