Tapas: sharing food the Spanish way

Stan Farrow

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When anyone asks me the best things about Ibiza and Spanish culture, I have a few obvious answers. The food is firmly at the top, the weather allowing you to do absolutely everything outdoors is a close second, and the relaxed and friendly people come in third. My ultimate joy, which I believe may not be unique to me, is to combine the lot by eating shed loads of good food under the stars and surrounded by mates.

Luckily for me and you, there is such a place where this is a possibility and it’s accessible to all via a short walk or very short drive up a small road just off of the main Avenida Dr Fleming in San Antonio (that road with Eden, Es Paradis and Ibiza Rocks on it).

The place is simply called Tapas Restaurant and tonight I’m dragging my English/Spanish friend and my Spanish/Spanish friend with me for a slap-up feast. I say drag with me, I’m more the one being dragged as Mrs. Spain views herself as the Queen of Tapas and soon takes full charge of where we’re sitting and the menu. Fortunately I trust her as she starts rattling off a selection of dishes to the waitress.

We have bread and alioli to kick things off, and I’m so glad that the bread isn’t the typical grey brick that you can get in other places. It’s the sort of bread that makes a glorious crack when you break it apart, but inside is fluffy and soft. It’s the bread that Mozart would have made if he was a baker. I need to remind myself and the ladies that thou should not fill up on bread, so we resist ordering any more.

Now the whole point of Tapas is to share the food and, within a short time, we’re given a plate each and the dishes start filling up the table. We’ve started with five: Popeye (spinach, cheese and mincemeat), Prawns & Chorizo (in a tomato based sauce), Spicy Calamari, Lamb Kofta, Thai Green Curry and rice.

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Within 20 seconds, a third of everything is heaped onto my plate and the Calamari is attacked. Four words sum this up—succulent and very, very spicy. The chilli flakes bombard the palate and open it up to the flavour of the squid. This may be too hot for some, my English/Spanish friend is struggling but the Queen gives a nod of appreciation. After such a good start, I soon finish everything off with relish. Everything is moist and tastes just like you hope it would. The highlight for me has to be the Popeye. Spinach really shouldn’t be this nice and I can actually feel my miniscule biceps growing a little with each bite. I’m tempted to order another round of it, which is actively encouraged with Tapas, but the Queen has the desert menu in her hands and her eyes tell me I’ve got to save some space.

We get three more plates and are hit with a Brownie, Pear Cheesecake and Crème Brulee. All are good, but the Crème Brulee is the winner…there’s a little fight over it and it is spoons at sunset to get that last bit of caramel. Obviously the Queen, being a Tapas veteran, has managed to find a smaller spoon to get into the gaps. I’m happy though, I have just enough space to knock back a hierbas and then we don’t leave the restaurant for another hour as we put the world to rights. Great food and great company in the great outdoors. Perfecto!

http://www.tapasrestaurantibiza.com/

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