It seems to be a period of 1st birthdays. Grand Central has been open for a year now, nestled on top of New Street station, with already one swap of ownership. Grand Central has had a busy year! Happily, this also means Tapas Revolution‘s only Midlands location has been with us for a year.
Omar Allibhoy has been err.. creating a revolution… in Spanish cooking since arriving in the UK in 2008. Opening the first Tapas Revolution in 2010, he also launched Britain’s fastest selling Spanish cookbook in 2013 (no prizes for guessing the name).
For his follow up book, Spanish Made Simple Omar has taken inspiration from simple ingredients easily available to make classic Spanish Tapas. To celebrate the launch, Omar has also revitalised the menu with a few (hopefully) new favourites from the book. There is a gluten free menu available too for those coeliacs amongst you!
Whilst we went through a few nibbles of Jamón Ibérico de bellota Montenevado (hand carved to order 30-month cured, dry-aged and acorn-fed Iberian ham) and Pan con Tomate (toasted bread, garlic, tomato and olive oil), Omar took us through the inspiration behind the new book and menu, using easily attainable ingredients to create simple but delicious dishes.
Before delving into the new menu, we were treated to the best Ham Croquettas in London (and apparently the rest of the country too). These ham and béchamel were little bundles of joy. A crispy exterior, a rich creamy sauce, with little morsels of Iberico ham studded through. I could see why they’re a popular little dish.
Next up some of the treats from the new book:
Piquillos rellenos de setas: baked piquillo peppers filled with mushroom béchamel and piquillo pepper sauce. Mmmm-mmm-mmm. Not much else to say: rich, creamy, velvety, unguent, really a nice little pot of heaven!
Cogollos de tudela con vinagreta de panceta: Warm roasted lettuce salad with honey and smoked bacon vinaigrette. Now I was surprised with this dish, warm lettuce just sounded, well, wrong! Happily I was wrong! Pan fried leaves drizzled with honey and sprinkled with crispy bacon, they were delicious. I could have happily just tucked into a big bowl of this for the evening. It’s definitely something I’ll be trying at home!
Cordero al chilindrón: Traditional slow-cooked lamb stew with tomato, peppers & herbs. This felt very comfort food with big hearty pieces of lamb floating in a rich broth. If you need an autumn pick me up, this would be it.
It wouldn’t be tapas without a bit of dessert to finish off, would it?
Tarrito de chocolate: A sweet sherry chocolate pot with fresh raspberries. This was VERY chocolatey with a hint of the sherry on the aftertaste; the raspberries’ sharpness helping to bite through the dense chocolate flavour.
Torrija: Caramelised brioche bun soaked in custard, served warm. This was a complete surprise to me. A dessert of brioche in custard with a touch of chocolate and a dash of cinnamon sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Though humble ingredients, this was wondrous. Sticking to the inside of the chest as it descended, I felt like I had a ‘Ready Brek glow’ by the end of it! It really completed the meal for me, one which will be repeated significantly over the winter.
To help us wash down our desserts, a little aperitif helped us round off a great evening with Omar espousing the delights of Bodegas Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Anada. A full-bodied sweet wine, looks and tastes like a sweet sherry, winner of many awards. We also had an Espresso to perk us up and a Ginabelle, plum gin infused with red berry tea and served with Fever Tree Indian tonic and forest fruits.
A great way to round out the meal. Now I just have to try and be as impressive when I cook something from the book for Wifey!
Disclaimer: For this evening, I was a guest of Omar and the team at Tapas Revolution and Neil Reading PR, this provides no bias to the post. This blog is my own personal opinion and strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting food and venues in and around Birmingham.
Where: Tapas Revolution, Ground, Grand Central, 68A East Mews, Birmingham, West Midlands B2 4XJ
Who: Tapas Revolution