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El Gato Negro Tapas, Ripponden, W Yorks


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#1 Bapi

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 09:59 AM

Food dammit- It’s a rather perverse affliction isn’t it? One which causes one to do rather rash things. How so? Well, I have eulogised, at length, about a certain pub called the Millbank in West Yorkshire on here before. We were so enamoured with the food, affable service, wonderful views and the tranquil setting that is the Ryburn valley, that we er,………bought a house there and moved into the village. I now live 3 minutes and 5 seconds away from the pub. Yes- I have timed it and of course, it’s quicker if I am thirsty or hungry. Granted from fiscal perspective and for the sake of the little chap in the picture to the left and his inheritance, this is possibly not a good thing. But it gets worse……this area is gaining a well deserved reputation for food.

Just five minutes away in Ripponden is El Gato Negro Tapas- owned by business partners Simon Shaw and Chris Williams. Both worked at the restaurants of the Harvey Nichols group, Simon as Executive Chef and Chris was in charge of the front of house in London. It may seem odd then that they should choose to open their first venture as a tapas restaurant in a small village in West Yorkshire, but I for one am not complaining. In fact Stephen Jackson of the excellent Weaver’s Shed, Golcar was eulogising about them in a recent Yorkshire Life magazine, where El Gato Negro had won newcomer of the year. (Nice one re your award Stephen, for Yorkshire chef of the year btw). In addition, Stephen mentioned both the Millbank and in the next village along The Old Bore, Rishworth, owned by Scott Hessel- he of the slightly ill-fated egullet thread last year. This tipped the balance for me and so when my best man and his frumpy Spanish wife came to stay last weekend, we ventured down the hill to try it.

It’s set in the middle of the village in an attractively converted pub. Inside they have retained the original flagstones, and added attractive banquette seating and an eclectic collection of wooden tables; all of which co-exist rather neatly with contemporary tonal colours. To order you simply peruse the placemat menu before you and then tick the appropriate boxes, indicating whether you need multiples of any dish…… and yes, of course we did need to order twice. The menu is split into snacks, hams and salamis, tapas meat, fish and vegetables along with sections for bread, cheese and daily specials.

To start with Anchovy fillets on crostini -were lovely, not too salty and served with a sticky balsamic reduction. Acorn fed Jamon Iberico came next- the most expensive dish at £9.50, but utterly delicious nevertheless and to be honest this stuff costs a fortune doesn’t it? Meatballs came with a fritada sauce and were fine. Moist pink, Beef fillet came with wild mushrooms and caramelised shallots and a sherry reduction. Confit of belly pork with rosemary flavoured arrocina beans, came in thin slices with a nice layer of crispy fat. I will admit this was one of the last dishes we ordered, so didn’t get the full benefit as I was rather full. But before I got to that stage, we had a absolutely perfect grilled baby lamb chops with roast parsnips. I could have gnarled away quite happily on these all afternoon. Bloody knockout stuff.

Padron peppers with Maldon sea salt were a personal favourite. I love these things and the Russian Roulette-like risk of not knowing whether the next pepper will blow one’s head off. Syrian lentils were excellent- redolent with subtle notes of cumin and coriander and Tortilla of the day was a classic one with onions and potato. I rather liked it, but my friend thought it could have done with a smidgeon more potato. Spinach and mushroom croquetas were, to me, a revelation. I tried some last year, in the middle of the Boqueria market in Barcelona. At a bar called El Quim (yes, you read that correctly), and they were an abomination of microwaved mush. These however, were light, crispy and moreish. From the fish/seafood section we had Tiger prawns with rosemary, chilli and garlic and the standout dish of scallops, with mini Catalan chorizo and chick pea puree. Sadly shared between the four of us, but I could have eaten two portions of these on my own quite happily.

After seventeen dishes, we were sadly beaten and not even the extremely genial host Chris could tempt us into ordering dessert. Top marks to him and his team, who coped admirably with our respective toddlers having a “moment” each. He took them off us and whisked them off to the kitchen. Not to have them cooked you understand.

In terms of their reputation, they already have a strong local following and from slightly further a field - well a certain Mr Flinn and his missus Olga from Leeds have been, Robert Cockcroft- the Yorkshire Post food critic loved it and somebody called Andy Lynes wrote about it in Olive magazine last year. And if higher praise were needed - the aforementioned friend’s frumpy wife (fear not, she is equally rude to me) is from Barcelona- so knows her tapas. She was aghast at the quality of the tapas on offer. Well the meal kept her and my missus quiet for an hour, which is never a bad thing.

Edit- to strike a balance I did have one minor gripe. I was on driving detail so was not really tucking into the wine. The girls had ordered a bottle of Prosecco by the time I returned with the second contingent, because there was no Cava on offer! Come on now chaps, there must be some out there you can put on the wine list surely.

El Gato Negro Tapas

Edited by Bapi, 26 January 2007 - 02:37 AM.


#2 YKL

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 10:52 AM

nice review - thanks Bapi! will add to the list

#3 Anne Benson

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 04:56 AM

Sadly I used to live in rishworth, next door but two to the Old Bore but that was when it was a dodgy pub full of stuffed animals. I wish I still lived there especially now things are happening.

There were some nice things in Ripponden. A little delicatessen, the Over the Bridge restaurant and Gimbals in Sowerby Bridge. Do any of these still exist?

But i will definitely be heading back there soon.

#4 Bapi

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 06:26 AM

Anne,

I am pretty sure the the Bridge restaurant has long since gone, though the Bridge pub by the river is still going strong.

I think Gimbals is still there too, well it was in the 2006 Harden's guide though I haven't been. No idea about the Deli haven't noticed one yet- but will search it out now, so thanks.

BTW- I forgot to mention re sourcing their ingredients authentically. Apparently Anthony Flinn and Simon Shaw take it turns to fly over to Spain to get them.

Mmm, I feel another trip down the road coming on.

Edit--And I heard back that they have now ordered a suitable Cava, which is on the way (and had been ordered before my gripe above.) :smile:

Edited by Bapi, 29 January 2007 - 04:21 PM.


#5 Bapi

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 06:57 AM

A couple more meals here recently. One with some greedy bugger from down sarf which you can read about here.

I went again yesterday with the missus. The missus is becoming seriously addicted to those Padron Peppers. We also went for the monkfish dish Jay refers to. It's cooked on the bone, which gives the the flesh a tender succulence and it's probably the best monkfish dish I have had since Shaun Hill's siganture dish of Monkfish with Mustard and cucumber. Best of all was a specials dish of the standout Pig cheeks - slowly braised, with morcilla. The latter being a wonderful black pudding. Apologies to Bury- the home of Black Pudding- but this stuff knocked the socks off anything I have ever eaten from there.

After nine dishes, apparently five is the norm for a couple :blink:, we ended with the Spanish classic of dark chocolate tart, with Valrhona chocolate ice cream. Oh, all right, it wasn't very Spanish - it was however superb. Along with a a dollop of that wondrous Timothy Taylor's ice cream; made from the King of Beers.

Bloody hell- typing this is making me hungry. We may have to pop down the road for some roast beef at the Millbank. Whoever coined the phrase "It's grim up North" was, quite frankly, a Muppet.

Edited by Bapi, 18 February 2007 - 11:40 AM.


#6 BertieWooster

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 03:35 AM

So the answer to that earlier question about getting critics up to review restaurants is obviously 'rave about it on egullet'.

Ripponden, shoes and tapas. What more could anyone want? Bet it puts the house prices up.
It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

#7 jayrayner

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 04:19 AM

So the answer to that earlier question about getting critics up to review restaurants is obviously 'rave about it on egullet'.

Ripponden, shoes and tapas. What more could anyone want? Bet it puts the house prices up.

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I admit exactly that in a forthcoming review of yet another place mentioned here. Mind you the crowd here does get aroud a bit so there is going to be some crossover from time to time.
Jay

#8 Bapi

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 06:33 AM

Ripponden, shoes and tapas. What more could anyone want? Bet it puts the house prices up.

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I hope it bloody does put the house prices up- but what the hell is the reference to shoes about? Are you thinking of Ramsbottom instead dear boy?

#9 BertieWooster

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 07:14 AM

Yes, now I come to think of it I am---just over the border though innit.

See, they both start with the letter 'R' and, uhhr, uhhr....geography was never a hot topic for me.
It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

#10 Basildog

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 08:11 AM

So the answer to that earlier question about getting critics up to review restaurants is obviously 'rave about it on egullet'.

Ripponden, shoes and tapas. What more could anyone want? Bet it puts the house prices up.

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I admit exactly that in a forthcoming review of yet another place mentioned here. Mind you the crowd here does get aroud a bit so there is going to be some crossover from time to time.

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Jay, when is that one due to be published?

#11 Matthew Grant

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 08:22 AM

I wonder who it could be?
"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

#12 Basildog

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 08:24 AM

I wonder who it could be?

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Well it's not me, Jay is barred :biggrin:

#13 jayrayner

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 09:17 AM

I wonder who it could be?

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Matthew, you are such a tease.

It is, as Matthew knows full well, Alexander's at Limpsfield. Before anyone asks, no previews here.
Jay

#14 martinwa

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 09:55 AM

Yes, now I come to think of it I am---just over the border though innit.

See, they both start with the letter 'R' and, uhhr, uhhr....geography was never a hot topic for me.

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Ripponden, Yorkshire, white rose. Ramsbottom, Lancashire, red rose. Big hills between, war of the erm, roses.

#15 Infrasonic

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 10:16 AM

Mind you the crowd here does get aroud a bit so there is going to be some crossover from time to time.


What!! Are you implying that we're loose with our morels? :raz:

I
In the long run...we are all dead (J M Keynes)
Heston's Disneyland for Sexless Fortysomethings...(Naebody)

#16 Matthew Grant

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 11:15 AM

I wonder who it could be?

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Matthew, you are such a tease.

It is, as Matthew knows full well, Alexander's at Limpsfield. Before anyone asks, no previews here.

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Really?! :shock: :laugh:
"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

#17 MartinGill

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 06:46 AM

With our first baby due in the next 3 weeks we went for what may be our last meal out for a while by re-visiting El Gato Negro on Saturday. I think Chris said that Bapi had been in for lunch that day, but despite my worries everything was still available on the menu :biggrin:

Eating tapas with a vegetarian obviously means that the whole idea of sharing is a bit one way, and as a result I may have over-ordered on the meat and fish front, and did less well on the olives and the vegetables but as with our first visit we didn't have a poor dish between us.

The serrano ham with celeriac remoulade was a lovely combination, although my wife polished off most of the remoulade, but the quantity of ham would have been fine for 3, not that it stopped me. The monkfish was beautifully cooked, although the pancetta was served with it rather than wrapping the fish as it was described. At this point I was glad I didn't have to share. Initially I thought the beans it was served with were too similar to baked beans, but the more I ate of the dish the more I liked the combination with the smokiness of the pancetta coming through the sauce. By the time a portion of two slices of fillet steak arrived, served perfectly rare, with mushrooms and caramelised shallots I was flagging.

On the vegetable front my one forkfull of patatas bravas with aioli was delightful, but next time I looked up the dish was empty and I didn't get to try the mushrooms in sherry vinegar with garlic, which was the least favourite dish of the night more because we preferred everything else than anything being wrong with it. We finished with a selection of Spanish cheeses and depressingly couldn't make room for the puddings which we'd so enjoyed so much on our first visit.

Suprisingly the highlight for me was the bread. It is quite a feat for a mouthful of toasted bread, served simply with tomato, olive oil and garlic to transport me from the cold, wet and windy Pennine night to a summers evening, and I could have eaten this all night.

Both our visits have shown Simon's deft hand in the kitchen. The ingredients are first class and are allowed to speak for themselves with a simple presentation, yet other dishes are more complex and beautifully executed. The service, apart from a mini hiccup waiting for the cheese, was friendly and attentive. Chris greeted us as old friends, yet this was only our second visit. They're apparently up for 2 awards at the Northern hospitality awards soon, and on the standards of the two meals I've had there I hope they get something, hopefully Bapi can do some lobbying with Thom.

Forgot to ask if they have a high chair!

#18 Bapi

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:43 PM

With our first baby due in the next 3 weeks we went for what may be our last meal out for a while by re-visiting El Gato Negro on Saturday. I think Chris said that Bapi had been in for lunch that day, but despite my worries everything was still available on the menu  :biggrin:

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Firstly Martin, congratulations on the impending birth of your little one. Secondly, you cheeky sod :biggrin: Yes we had been in that lunchtime. It was a futile attempt to rehydrate and refuel my body after the excesses of the day before at Juniper, with Gary and Thom; and well, the marathon crawl around Manchester that followed.

I am glad you enjoyed it again, as did we. We tried the Specials dish of a plate of Gambas this time - and they were excellent. Gently fried in oil tinged with a hint of chilli and garlic. We also had another specials dish of Baby ribs in a Pedro Ximenez reduction- sticky, sweet, succulent meat which flaked off the bone. Note to all parents- prospective or otherwise. Try not to order these two dishes together. Why? Because in terms of containment of one's two year old- it isn't easy placating him, with one's paws covered in stuff, that is not unless you have Chris to whisk him off again, so you can finish. The tortilla, was again superb and the food that afternoon made me very happy for another reassuring reason. That being that Simon wasn't even there cooking that afternoon, but away cooking at an exhibition.(I think) Nevertheless, a testimony to him that his team churned out dish, after excellent dish, without him.

Finally, yes I do hope they pick up an award at the Northern Restaurant awards. Now if you mean by "lobbying" of Thom - general abuse and the ability to produce highly untoward photographs of him in compromising situations, then I am your man. Seriously though- I seem to remember him saying that he wasn't actually involved in the voting process- but he is better placed to comment.

Good luck again Martin (actually that's more directed at your better half!) and yes, they do have a high chair.

#19 fisherman

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 02:31 PM

Mrs Fisherman and I will be moving somewhere in the vicinity of Ripponden in the next few weeks, well, once we've found a house we will. Cheshire never quite cut it for me, I'm a miserable Yorkshire bastard at heart, but I can't wait to try the Black cat, it may well influence our final location.

#20 Bapi

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 03:00 AM

It will be good to see you round these parts fisherman- though I have to say, I hope you are not as scary in real life as your avatar suggests. In all seriousness you could do a lot worse than live in this area. Whilst I am not suggesting that the Good Food Guide is the ulitmate arbiter of where is and isn't worth visiting- it's still a useful tool and with well over ten entries within a few miles radius of here, well life isn't too bad. PM me if you need info re Estate agents etc.

By the way, they have new Summer menu at El Gato Negro- with char grilled skewers of lamb and chicken, spinach with raisins and pine nuts, in addition to Pinchos Murunos. This was marinated pork fillet- cooked beautifully and then left to rest till tender. Another stellar dish was salt cod croquetas fritarda- crispy little spheres of joy with a tiny dollop of aoilli on top.

#21 YKL

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:25 PM

just back from lunch here with Bapi and R and H ... (has been far too long since i saw them last!) .. and delighted to be able to confirm that the food here is indeed very very good.

We managed to order most of the menu between us ... and my personal favourites were:
- special of morcilla with fried egg - excellent. light but richly flavoured morcilla, runny egg, and some pear(? is that right) puree on the side. Good enough for me to request a second portion even though I was probably full enough!
- salt cod croquetas - very impressive balance of cod and potato flavour
- anchovies on crostini - meaty fillets, full of flavour with good sweet/sour notes

Also worth mentioning the padron peppers (although we ate the last of the supply), spinach tortilla and chorizo/ham platter.

Puds also very impressive - a sublime lemon tart, but first prize in the puds goes to the sticky toffee pudding for its genius accompaniment of Timothy Taylor ice-cream - providing wonderful aromatic malty and bitter notes to the ice-cream. More please ..

Service smiley and helpful - a lovely way to spend Sunday afternoon ...

Did try taking some photos but they're not good enough to post ... but doesn't matter - I intend on returning ... :smile:

#22 Bapi

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 09:57 AM

Ooops - I forgot to respond to to you Yin- sorry- but yes it was a cracking meal. We had another wonderful one last weekend, it's a joy to see our little one tucking into Simon's tortilla so heartily and with such glee. Whilst I wont embarass Chris and Simon by saying what they did, let's just say they were incredibly generous.

Yes I know I bleat on about places I love around where we live , but it seems the message is spreading. This review from the Guardian is spot on in regards of what Simon and Chris are trying to achieve.

#23 Bapi

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 11:17 AM

More bleating I am afraid. But this place just gets better and although we have had a few meals here since I last posted - Simon's cooking has undoubtedly stepped up a notch considering todays lunch. This is also borne out by the fact they picked up the 2008 regional award with Harden's recently- well deserved too. :smile:

They have introduced a winter menu which, naturally we sampled at length. First up was seared foie gras on gyspy(french) toast with caramelised mango. An absolutely joyous dish- the sweetness of the mango was intensified by a dusting of vanilla- which in turn, counteracted the rich foie gras. Then came pan fried scallops- served with risotto, redolent with jamon iberico and a paprika foam. Bugger me this was good- the scallops were spot on with just the right amount of crust and the risotto was cooked beautifully.

Next came baby monkfish tail with an Asturian bean stew and clams. Cooked on the bone- the fish was wonderfully tender. The beans gave an excellent contrast in texture and the clams, with their sweet flesh, finished the dish perfectly.

Finally, came a very generous portion of Rabo de toro with a horseradish mash. An Andalusian oxtail stew- deeply rich in colour with melting meat, flavoured with rosemary, garlic and carrots amongst other things. Accompanied by perfect pommes puree, judicously flavoured with horseradish and a drizzle of good olive oil.

To finish the horror had far too much of their locally made ice cream than is conventionally acceptable for a minor and we had a chocolate delice dusted with space dust. :smile: With a few other dishes and too much Cava for the Moo Cow, we left just £70 quid lighter; which was a steal for food of this calibre.

I have said it before- we are bloody lucky to live here and have this (and other equally good places) on our doorstep.

#24 fisherman

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 12:02 PM

Still haven't made it here yet, we didn't end up moving too close to Ripponden, Harrogate is our local town, and dining wise it's a constant disappointment. A place called 'The Tannin Level' offers a dish described as a 'Risotto Paella' Do the fools not realise they're two totally different things? We really must make the trip over to Ripponden.

#25 slacker

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 03:44 AM

A wee bit dry-mouthed this morning. Really enjoyed a brief pre-dinner stop here last night. Tio Pepe tasting really good. Padron peppers, Tio Pepe, Pata Negra (really really ace and not TOO pricey for LOTS), Tio Pepe, good tortilla (a bit too fresh in a funny sort of way), and some really Spanish almonds. Great staff, really cheery (mind you local Lord-of-the-Manor Bapi always raises a laugh). And loads of people eating on a January Thursday evening. Would def return frequently if I lived nearby and explore oxtail, anchovies, croquettas etc. etc. and try their dry sherry perhaps.

:)
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#26 Gary Marshall

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 04:11 AM

all sounds good apart from the sherry
you don't win friends with salad

#27 Bapi

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 05:28 AM

Oh my bloody head. You forgot mention that lot was a pre starter- followed by a further starter of scallops at the Mill Bank pub and then home to cook pasta and demolish Eton Mess.

#28 Bapi

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 11:29 AM

Finally managed to get Dos Hermanos senior up to see us this weekend and take him to El Gato Negro. But as the lazy lummox can't be bothered to post on his blog- I thought I'd do a quick report.

Simon the chef was on fire on Saturday- banging out dish after dish of perfect food. We ordered a ridiculous amount of food including the scallops, Ribs in PX, monkfish, oxtail and foie gras dishes mentioned above. He was also impressed by the amount of Jamon Iberico £13 gets you compared to in London- but then this is Yorkshire.

Star of the show was a freebie. A new dish Simon was trying out - Onglet served with a patatas a lo pobre. An unusual cut of meat, seared and charred on the exterior and beautifully pink and tender within. Off set nicely by the sweet peppers and potatoes. It is sure to be popular. I was beaten by the time the Rabo de toro came out with Horseradish mash- but needn't have worried as the man was still ploughing on like a trojan.

(PS - Good article about Simon in Restaurant magazine a couple of weeks back. The same edition that mentions The Modern.)

#29 RDB

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 05:09 AM

Spare of the moment decision to visit El Gato over the weekend, managed to get a table at 6 pm, although had to vacate at 8 pm. Decided to make a day of it, so phoned local tour guide Bapi for a good family friendly pub with excellent beer and boy did he deliver. The Alma Inn, Bapi's local, is an amazing pub in a great location, beautiful setting for a beer garden, rolling hills all around and 'spongy grass' for the little ones to play. Contrary to the dreary weather forecast, Saturday afternoon was glorious and with a beer menu featuring 30 plus specialist bottled beers, it was a perfect start.

Leaving Bapi and Bapi Jnr at the pub, we ventured down to El Gato, sun still shining and high anticipation for some good tapas. On arrival we were greeted by the ever so friendly front of house Chris, who seemed to know our first names? He then proceeded to offer us some complimentary drinks, it appeared any friend of Bapi's is a friend of El Gato!!! Well it made us feel special.

Dining area is bright spacious and modern with some great views. Ordering food is based around ticking each item on the menu and adding any additional dishes that maybe on the specials board. This was quite fun, as my oldest daughter Ciara ( the miniature gourmand) took over the role of choosing. The only problem being that you could very easily tick every box. Something I actually only realised at the end of the meal is the chef seems to decide in what order your dishes come out. He did this perfectly with the right dishes coming out at the right time and good spacing between each dish. It also adds that 'oh I forgot we ordered that' surprise element.

The food was excellent, I would say it is the best tapas I have had outside of Spain (including Moro, Barafina et al), and better than some I have had in Spain. It covered both styles of tapas in my opinion, the more traditional and the modern. Something as simple as a bowl of olives to me is a marker of good tapas, these olives were juicy, sweet, and so Moorish. Ciara and her one year old sister were almost fighting over who got to eat the most. Pickled chillies were just the right heat and perfect level of acidity. Selection of Spanish meats (Salchichon, Lomo, Serrano Ham, Chorizo Magno,Chorizo Artisan Leon) were divine and served with the most addictive celeriac remoulade. Baby Roast Chicken with Lemon, Garlic & Paprika was delicious, Lorraine who does not usually do 'skin and bones' was elbow deep in sauce and ripping the pieces apart with Henry the VIII style gusto. Seared Foie Gras on Gypsy Toast with Mango was advertised but not on sale anymore due to ALF objections, sounded such a good dish. Catalan Bread with Olive Oil, Garlic & Fresh Plum Tomato was again excellent, albeit slightly different from the Catalan bread I have had in Barcelona. This bread appeared deep fried with more of a tomato sauce than a tomato rub. The much talked about Padron Peppers with Maldon Sea Salt were everything they have been made out to be. I just could not stop eating them, well I did when I was lambasted for hogging the plate. The one in ten rule did not apply as I did not get a rogue 'hot one' at all. Syrian Lentils were cumin and coriander spiked delights, beautiful treatment of lentils warm and fresh. Patatas Bravas with Aioli, my least favourite of the dishes, the sauce was good, but the potatoes I found were a little soggy and tasted more like parsnips? Pan Fried Scallops, Jamon Risotto with Paprika Foam, was an absolute triumph of modern style tapas. Presented perfectly with a variety of sauces, scallops bursting with sweetness and different levels of flavours. To me this dish would be up there with anything I have seen on the recent great British menu and as good a dish I have had in quite a while. Amazing. Peas, mint and Iberico ham, Lorraine hailed this the dish of the day, just peas, mint and ham I hear you say, sounds simple, but these were unbelievable. Infact I can't do them justice in words alone. Selection of cheeses were all spanish and well kept, can only remember a manchego, Mahon? and Picos blue. I think they came with a quince jelly and a piece of a fig and walnut wheel, as well as some delightful bread and butter. With time ticking away we just had a selection of ice creams which young Ciara monopolised and gave them her experienced seal of approval.

The cooking in this restaurant really impressed me, I was hopeful it would be good, but was not expecting it to be that good. They really have got the balance right, with well sourced ingredients and exceptional cooking. Speaking to Simon the Chef afterwards I think he would like to do more of the modern style tapas, which from what I tasted he has the skill to execute. I do not think there are many, if any places in the Uk, who are doing this type of tapas, so it is good to see someone moving in that direction. He also does a great deal of research in the area by eating out in a lot of Spains best tapas joints and restaurants. A very exciting chef.

The atmosphere in the place was electric they really have captured the spirit of a bustling tapas place, with the sunshine outside, and lots of loud conversation and laughter I could have been in Spain. This has a great deal to do with Chris who is the perfect host and is absolutely obsessed with people enjoying themselves and having a good time.

I have very little to be jealous of Bapi, I am younger, fitter and far better looking. However, to have a restaurant like this on your door step , like he does, does bring out the green eyed monster somewhat.
If you are in the area give it a go, you will not be disappointed, if you are not in the area ( like us) make the trip, it is well worth it.

#30 Bapi

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 12:59 PM

The Alma Inn, Bapi's local, is an amazing pub in a great location, beautiful setting for a beer garden, rolling hills all around and 'spongy grass' for the little ones to play. Contrary to the dreary weather forecast, Saturday afternoon was glorious and with a beer menu featuring 30 plus specialist bottled beers, it was a perfect start.

I have very little to be jealous of Bapi, I am younger, fitter and far better looking. However, to have a restaurant like this on your  door step , like he does,  does bring out the green eyed monster somewhat.
If you are in the area give it a go, you will not be disappointed, if you are not in the area ( like us) make the trip, it is well worth it.

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Now if you think the Alma was good, we will definitely have to go to The Mill Bank pub next time and then you will be jealous. :smile: Great to see you again and to meet your charming family. Rosie sends her apologies again by the way.

Re El Gato Negro- I am delighted you enjoyed it so much but not really suprised, he writes somewhat complancently. :wink: The chaps are really top of their game at the moment and deserve all the plaudits they get.

I look forward to our lunch in a few weeks time, when you can eat the other half of the menu. :laugh:

Oh, and re my earlier comment the Dos Hermanos blog. Bless him, he did post about it here.