Last week I was invited to try some of Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy’s Tapas dishes at his restaurant Tapas Revolution, all of the recipes we tried can be found in his newly published book – which is also named Tapas Revolution.
Since the restaurant is set in the middle of Westfield shopping centre, I wasn’t expecting the food to impress. I was quite wrong! The dishes I tried were all delicious, full of garlicky, pimento Spanish flavours. I especially enjoyed the Ocotopus, marinated anchovies (Boquerones) and Moorish Skewers (Pinchos Morunos con Mojo Picon) – which I didn’t snap. I had warned the restaurant beforehand that I don’t eat gluten, and they very willingly obliged by providing me with slight alternatives to the dishes. I’m not bothered about bread at all – but sadly many Spanish dips and delights like calamari used bread, and flour as key ingredients.
The book itself, is geared towards cooking simple Spanish tapas dishes, with ingredients you can find on the high street – not a bad concept at all considering the lengths I go to sometimes to search for ingredients to cook up dishes from my ever expanding array of ‘authentic’ cookbooks. The green padron peppers are appearing in supermarkets more frequently these days – so with Omar’s simple cooking explanation I’ll be giving them a go at home soon. The final section of the book contains chefs favourites, so if you have the time and patience to go hunt for some octopus or rabbit, you’ll have some great recipes to work from. The recipes are gluten and dairy heavy in parts, and do use lots of white potatoes – though the enterprising natural chefs amongst us would have no problem in taking Omar’s fab book as a starting point in terms of flavours and technique then adapting away to our hearts content. I caught up with a Spanish Paleo blogger The Saffron Girl the day after I’d visited Tapas Revolution and she proudly told me she had plenty of these sorts of recipes on her website. I look forward to trying them!
I don’t often cook Spanish inspired food (and no, sprinkling paprika on my scrambled eggs doesn’t count), mostly because I don’t know how. I reckon I can now give it a good go. If Tapas is your thing, then this simple book, is well worth a look.
Fact of the evening: Coriander is actually from the Canary Islands – who knew?? Plus it makes an awesome Mojos sauce.
With thanks to Tapas Revolution and Omar Allibhoy
Branches of Tapas Revolution can be found at Westfield White City and Bluewater in Kent. Omar’s Tapas Revolution book is out from August 15th, published by Ebury Press, RRP £20.