Los Gatos - Spanish Bar
So, me and the Mr ventured out of the house this week for the first time together since little A was born almost 14 months ago! The occasion was my 3-years-from-30 birthday (as I like to call it) and Mr J booked for us to visit a local Spanish tapas bar that we'd heard great things about, exciting as we are huge fans of tapas.
We'd booked a table for 7:30pm and when we got there, it was pretty empty and there wasn't alot going on besides a few people eating/drinking up at the bar, though the atmosphere was quite casual and welcoming. We felt a little awkward at first, not knowing whether we were supposed to order at the bar or wait as no one had greeted us at the door, but we quickly came across our table and sat down.
Once we'd settled in and someone had come over to order our drinks, (and I'd had a sneaky text home to see how A was doing), we had a flick through the menu and the food sounded amazing! Their website isn't great, so we hadn't been able to check the menu beforehand which was a shame, but we weren't to be disappointed. We ordered dipping bread with balsamic vinegar for nibbles (my favourite!) and had a look at what we wanted to order.
By this time, the place had really picked up, almost instantly we noticed that it was packed and the atmosphere was great. Nice and casual, just lots of people enjoying the food and each other's company.
We weren't sure whether it was better to order 2/3 dishes a time or loads at once, but the waitress was really helpful and pretty much said we can do whatever we're comfortable with, so we made the (poor) decision of ordering around 6 dishes at once. The food didn't take long to turn up (there was no 'how long have we been waiting?' thoughts that ran through my head anyway) and looked great.
It didn't take long for us to realise we should have spread out the ordering as it only took us about 15/20 minutes to stuff our faces and become full when there was so much more we wanted to be able to try! Here's what we ordered and our thoughts:
Calamares FritosDeep fried calamres (squid) rings, garnished with lemon
The calamari was amazing. I am a huge lover of calamari, if it's on the menu anywhere, I'll order it and this was probably the best calamari I've tasted at a restaurant. It was not at all tough, really tender and delicious.
Pescado BarachoLiterally "drunken fish" - chunks of hake fried in beer batter with saffron mayo We thought this was a bit of a weird one for a Spanish restaurant, as far as I know beer-battered fish is more of an English dish but we ordered it anyway as it sounded nice. It was a little disappointing, we thought, still nice as fish goes and tender to eat, but the taste wasn't particularly special.
Jamon SerranoTraditional air cured Spanish ham, carved from the bone
So so so so good! I had this kind of ham previously at a different tapas restaurant and it was so lovely I was hoping they'd have a similar dish, and they did, and it didn't disappoint! The ham (one of the pricier dishes) was gorgeous and I really wanted to order another one but we'd filled our bellies far too much to warrant it. I would highly recommend!
Berenjenas FritasFresh aubergine chips fried and drizzled with Spanish multi-flower honey & sea salt from Sanlucar
I was looking forward to trying these as the menu claims it's one of their most popular dishes, and as delicious as they are, one dish was more than enough to share as the honey makes them taste very sweet.
We also asked the waitress to recommend a couple of dishes for us and these were the ones she chose:
Croquetas del DiaCroquettes of creamy béchamel with meat, fish or vegetables deep fried in crispy breadcrumbs
The flavour we had was ham & cheese of which I'm not a huge fan of so understandably didn't really enjoy these but the Mr did like them, though he said after a couple, he didn't really feel like eating any more. Probably not something we'd order again next time.
Albondigas en Salsa TomateTraditional pork and beef meatballs in our rich tomato sauce with sweet paprika
These were so yummy, and the sauce was fantastic. The Mr preferred the meatballs more than I did but that's just due to personal preference (I'm never a huge lover of meatballs), but the sauce I absolutely loved and it was great to be able to dip everything else in it.
There wasn't a huge selection for dessert and it was mostly traditional Spanish desserts which we're not massive fans of so we skipped it (though I really wanted churros, but being a Spanish breakfast, they were only available on Saturday mornings). By the time we left, there were people queueing for tables and the atmosphere was great. We'd definitely visit again as the food was great (even the dishes we didn't enjoy were good, just not to our personal taste), in fact we're returning in 3 weeks with friends so that we can order double the amount of dishes (though maybe we'll space them out a bit more next time).
It was a fantastic evening, and we returned home to a sound-asleep baba (well done Nanny & Grandad), though when asked how they got him to bed, Grandad replied "Well, I rubbed his back for 45 minutes until he went off." Lucky Archie, considering he usually falls asleep alone - the patience of a Grandparent!
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