Saturday, 17 August 2013

Food envy and a Tapas Revolution

Salmorejo - chilled Tomato Dip at Tapas Revolution
Do you ever get food envy? You take time poring over a menu to find the perfect dish, which duly arrives in front of you looking paltry. 

Then to make things worse, your friend is presented with a mouth-wateringly, achingly appetising rival plate. Sin it may be, but the occasional bout of supper spite is inevitable.



Pimientos de Padron 

Tapas however, is immune to this phenomenon. Those little plates of deliciousness take away any possibility of the green eyed monster; you get to order as many different dishes as you want, if you like the look of your next door neighbour's, you can tuck in without much fear of reprisal. No smug friends and partners chomping away on what should have justly (in your head anyway), been yours. It’s all share and share alike.

Chef Omar Allibhoy explaining his Pinchos Morunos Moorish skewers

So it was with greedy anticipation that I travelled to London’s Westfield and to Omar Allibhoy’s Tapas Revolution last week. 

Now if you’ve ever been assaulted by Westfield on a Thursday evening in school holidays, you’ll know it’s a bit like being in an airport lounge on steroids. All bright lights and big city. I am about to do a U turn when a warm Spanish ‘hola’ resonates reassuringly from behind a tapas bar. Suddenly, instead of Heathrow Terminal 5 I am in Madrid’s Barajas.
Owner and Madrid born chef Omar Allibhoy is there to introduce me and a handful of other bloggers to the tapas he holds so dear. He trained under El Bulli’s Ferran Adria and has been cheffing at London’s top eateries for an age, even though he’s still under 30. As if that’s not enough, he’s been on the telly a lot of late and has just launched his first book, Tapas Revolution.
Pulpo a la Gallega / Octopus with potatoes and pimenton
Having spent much time on the Costa del Sol as a child, I thought I knew a fair bit about Spanish food. I make a mean tortilla for example - it’s the perfect gluten free meal or snack. Yet Omar's was something else - not overcooked, salty and crispy on the outside, gooey, eggy and onions galore in the middle. 
Tortilla with Omar Allibhoy's favourite Aioli

There were at least five other surprises. The sauces for one. Salmorejo is a tomato and garlic concoction that will pep up the blandest of things. Traditionally from Seville, it was served on the night with bread and jamon iberico. 

Omar explained how the Moors brought spices like saffron and cumin into Spanish cuisine. The Moorish skewers we tasted reflected that perfectly and at least three of us decided they were the best dish of the evening. 

Pinchos Morunos / Moorish skewers

Anchovies, or possibly my favourite Spanish word, 'Boquerones', were served marinated in a neon lime green vinaigrette with parsley, garlic and olive oil, which was utterly simple and delicious. 

Boquerones

As for the book itself, it is beautifully presented with first class photos. Most of all I’m pleasantly surprised to find many recipes that are naturally gluten and dairy free and easy to recreate at home.

I'd happily return to Tapas Revolution, a welcome respite from the madness that is Westfield.  I'm also planning to cook some of the recipes from the book.

If you love Spanish food do seek it out while you can, there are some really stunning recipes in it which will impress both you and your friends. Not a green eyed monster in sight.  


p.s. I almost forgot, the event was a lovely chance to catch up with some other bloggers, do take a look at their blogs if you get chance:

Ceri at Natural Kitchen Adventures
Leyla at The Cutlery Chronicles 
The boy who ate the world
Helen from Fuss Free Flavours 
Clarisse at Rambling Muse

With thanks to Omar Allibhoy and Tapas Revolution.
Tapas Revolution is out this week, published by Ebury Press, £20.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely to actually meet you in person this time. Glad you enjoyed the food and the night as I did. Looking forward to cooking up those gluten free dishes at home asap!

    ReplyDelete

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