We were invited to review another new restaurant in Grey’s Quarter in Eldon Square. This time it was Tapas Revolution. I took along my trusty foodie friend and we settled down for a night of tapas and chat.
Tapas Revolution is a relatively new ‘chain’ restaurant in the UK with seven restaurants (including the one in Newcastle) and was set up by Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy who has been nicknamed the ‘Antonio Banderas of cooking’. He’s written two best-selling cookbooks that teach how to create easy, authentic tapas food at home (and which can be bought from the restaurant) and has won a host of awards and appeared on TV. In the throng of burgers and pizzas, I think his restaurant is a welcomed addition to Eldon Square’s food court.
When we arrived we were seated in a booth, and shown the menus. For those who aren’t familiar with tapas-style dining, the staff are quick to explain. We were informed that their tapas portion sizes are quite large so three dishes each would be sufficient. However, looking over the menu, it was hard just to choose six dishes between us as everything looked brilliant. In the end, off our waiter Julio’s recommendations, we went for:
- Pan de la casa (£4.25) – toasted bread, tomato topped with garlic sauce and serrano ham – “I always tell everyone to order this one when they come to visit” – Julio.
- Berenjenas fritas con miel (£5.50) – crispy fried aubergine with a spiced honey and thyme dressing
- Alitas de pollo a la miel y limón (£5.50) – marinated crispy chicken wings with lemon and honey dressing
- Huevos rotos con chorizo y gambas (£6.50) – free-range eggs with potatoes, prawns and spicy chorizo
- Torreznos con mojo dulce (£5.75) – crispy pork belly with sweet and spicy sauce
- Calamares fritos (£5.75) – deep-fried squid with alioli
I was intrigued to try the crispy aubergine as, although I love aubergine, every time I eat it it’s always a bit wet… I thought it would be delicious crispy.
I was also impressed with the drinks menu, specifically the different choices of drinks available in the non-alcoholic section. Because I don’t drink alcohol, I usually end up with a subpar lemonade or just water, but here there were so many choices: homemade lemonade with saffron, homemade rhubarb and peach juice with rose water and lemon, homemade morella cherry and honey juice with ginger ale, and Horchata – a classic Valèncian drink made from tigernut root. Between my friend and I, we tried quite a lot of them, and they were all superb!
The food arrived quickly and was piping hot. The dishes didn’t arrive all together at the same time, but I would say within 5 minutes of the first dish arriving we had them all, which I was impressed with.
The Pan de la casa was so good. I can see why Julio recommends this to every diner. The flavours were authentic and strong but all complemented one another in a way that it was so more-ish.
The aubergine was cripsy – yay! It was deliciously paired with the sweet honey dressing and reminded me a little of honey-roasted parsnips, without the parsnip!
The sticky chicken wings were served with little wipes to clean our messy fingers, which was just a little touch but very well thought out. The lemon and honey dressing was the right amount of zest and sweetness to add an unusual flavour but it didn’t overpower the whole dish. It was a big portion as well, with about 8-10 chicken wings included.
The Huevos rotos con chorizo y gambas was my favourite dish. The prawns were fat and juicy and the quality of the chorizo was excellent. There was no skimping on the meat either, you can see by the picture how packed the dish was. It was also a meal in itself, Julio was right in advising us to only order three dishes each.
I love belly pork. I know not everyone is a fan, but I just love it. And the spicy dressing on these made them addictive to eat. It was spicier than I thought it would be, so be prepared, but it was more delicious than burn-your-face-off.
My friend has actually texted me multiple times since our visit last week to tell me she was daydreaming about this calamari! The batter was light and crispy and the squid was cooked beautifully. Tapas Revolution really know how to showcase the best of their ingredients.
For being two people with hearty appetites, we couldn’t finish all six dishes. So, remember that the portion sizes here are generous and to not go overboard with ordering!
One thing I loved most about Tapas Revolution was that the restaurant was full of ambience and character and the food wasn’t served with gimmicks. Yes, it’s fun to have cocktails froth and change colour, or for pate to be served in a wheelbarrow, but if it doesn’t taste good – what’s the point? I loved how everything was served Spanish-style in paella dishes and on plates. It let the food do the talking, and the food was excellent. It was authentic and it was delicious.
We were too full to order a dessert each so decided to share the Churros con chocolat (£4.50) – Spanish crispy doughnuts tossed in cinnamon sugar and served with hot dipping chocolate. We could smell them before they arrived at the table and they were the perfect sweet end to a delicious meal.
Although our meal was complimentary for the purposes of the blog, the bill would have been £46.50 which included six tapas dishes, four soft drinks, and a dessert. Just over £20 a person. I thought this was very reasonable for the quality and quantity of food we had ordered.
As both of us were chatting as we ate dessert, we were already arranging to come back – my friend with her husband for a date night, and me with some friends after shopping in Eldon Square. It’s the perfect place for a date night, family dinner, quick bite and drinks with friends. The atmosphere and layout of the restaurant is so welcoming as well, that even if you pulled up a stool at the bar for a drink it would be fine. I love that. Sometimes when you go to a restaurant you almost feel the staff roll their eyes at you if you’re just after a few nibbles or drinks and sides only, but here you could have whatever you want.
We can’t wait to go back.
To find out more about Tapas Revolution in Eldon Square and to view the menu visit www.tapasrevolution.com/newcastle.