One of my favorite restaurants, which I have returned to several times over the years, Casa Tapas in Bacup Road has built a solid reputation as an authentic Spanish restaurant serving a wide variety of small but tasty dishes.
The menu is extensive, as it should be, as tapas dishes are usually small but designed to be shared. Indeed, the restaurant recently introduced a new and improved menu with 17 new dishes, while retaining the previous 50 and menus, la carte and paella.
Tapas, as many know, originated in Spain and derives from the Spanish word “tapar” or “to cover”. Small plates, even thin slices of bread and meat, were placed over glasses of sherry to keep the fruit flies from congregating.
Tapas have evolved lately, with dishes getting bigger and bigger and designed to be shared.
Luckily I only had to share with one, my partner Andrea, and we chose eight dishes which were brought to our table by a friendly waitress.
Our choices were a combination of meat, seafood and potatoes, and really none disappointed. My only criticism was that they all seemed to come at once, and our small table was soon overwhelmed with food. A little more time between courses would have been ideal.
That said, we were there to eat and of course to drink. A pitcher of sangria – what else – was ordered to wash down our food. It came with plenty of fruit, but maybe could have carried a little more kick, but again, that was a minor issue.
Anyway, back to the food. Our seafood choices were mussels cooked in garlic and white wine, and my perennial favorite prawns pil pil, shrimp sautéed in garlic, olive oil and hot peppers. Both dishes were perfect for soaking up big bread, which was another choice.
Our meat came in the form of marinated lamb chops and basic Mediterranean chorizo, the spicy Spanish sausage seared in red wine.
The patatas bravas, potatoes fried in a spicy sauce, provided our carbohydrates. Perhaps the stars of the show were two of our long-time favorites – queso de cabra, grilled goat cheese and honey on an apple crust, and pimentos rellenos, peppers stuffed with ground meat. lamb, spinach and rice topped with tomato and cheese then baked in the oven.
All dishes came out hot and full of flavor. The restaurant itself is small, softly lit, and intimate, but there are larger tables as you’d expect for a kitchen that lends itself to group dining.
As I mentioned earlier, the menu is very extensive. We didn’t choose any of the cold tapas on offer, which include Spanish cured ham, manchego cheese and olives, among other things. A selection of Spanish stews and chicken dishes are also available.