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Published April 22nd 2018
An unapologetically Spanish gluttonous affair
They say food can take you to places... a memory perhaps... or maybe a reminder of a certain texture, aroma or taste, or it may take you to a place you always wanted to visit. Our visit to Bar Tapa did not just take us into the gastronomical world of mouth-watering delights, it took us right to Spain!
From the atmosphere to the decor and food, there was no shortage of love and passion, which surrounds you once you take that first step inside Bar Tapa. Manny (Manuel) and Sarah took us not just into their restaurant, but their home, their culture and their love and passion for all things food.
The service was exceptional; you were made not to feel like an ordinary patron trying out something new, but a friend, almost like a life-long friend. The atmosphere was lively, yet cosy. And the menu was filled with authentic Spanish Tapas tempting your taste buds to experience a gluttonous affair.
The menu is filled with delectable authentic Spanish Tapas dishes...
We ordered 7-tapas dishes between the two of us: Mejillones Tigre (fried mussels with spicy béchamel- $9), Migas Manchegas (sautéed cured meats with bread & egg- $10), Chorictos a la sidra (chorizo cooked in cider- $12), Pincho Moruno (chargrilled adobo chicken skewer- $10), Pulpo a la gallega (octopus over potato with smoked paprika- $12), Seleccion Mixta (selection of meat and cheese- $14) and Gazpacho Andaluz ($6 single serve).
Our dishes were accompanied by Gonzalez-Byass Tio Pepe en Rama (Fino Sherry- $15/$85), and Osborne Mazanilla (Fino Sherry- $7/$45).
Manny suggested we complete our 'Espanol' affair without taking us over the edge with Churros ($7) and accompany that with the dessert Sherry- Conde de la Cortina PX ($8).
Mejillones Tigre was fried mussels with spicy bechamel. Mussels are my favourite shellfish, so it was no surprise that I ordered a 'mussel-based' dish! This tapas dish redefined the way mussels should be cooked, flavoured and taste. It was absolutely delectable as well as being such a brilliant way to cook this humble shellfish.
The mouthwatering Mejillones Tigre (fried mussels with spicy béchamel)
To our surprise the mussel was 'mashed' into a soft texture and seasoned just right, then coated in a crumb that added a different texture, making this dish such a refined and tasteful delight... I just wanted more of it!
Such an unique and creative version of the humble mussel...
Migas Manchegas (sauteed cured meats with bread and egg) was another remarkable dish that was filled with textures and flavours! Once this dish hit the table, I was curious to how it will taste. After taking a mouthful of all the ingredients my taste buds went into overdrive with the crispness of the bread, the slight saltiness from the cured meats, followed by the gentle egg. The dish married quite well together.
The textures from Migas Manchegas (sautéed cured meats with bread and egg) was absolutely amazing...
Chorizo, like mussels, is one of my favourites and if I see chorizo on the menu, I will not hesitate to order it. The Chorictos a la sidra was a mild chorizo, but the flavours of the cider they were cooked in was mind-blowingly delicious! I was a little nervous on this one, and was not sure if it will work well together, but I soon realised that it should be a law that mild chorizo must be cooked in cider at all times!
My taste buds went into overdrive with the scrumptious Chorictos a la sidra (chorizo cooked in cider) dish...
The cider did not overpower the mild chorizo and a slight citric hit complemented each element quite well. The flavours united together, like a magical dance between two lovers and caused my taste buds to beg for more!
The chorizo cooked in cider was the perfect marriage of flavours...
Pincho Moruno (chargrilled adobo chicken skewer) was accompanied by crispy bread and garlic aioli. The chicken was cooked perfectly, surprisingly being a breast piece; it was not dry and held the flavours well. The verde drizzled on top of the skewer was uniformed with the right amount of herbs to acidity and the garlic aioli was creamy, 'garlicy' and complemented the chicken skewer.
Pincho Moruno (chargrilled adobo chicken skewer) was such a scrumptious dish!
Pulpo a la gallega was another surprising dish and certainly not what I pictured it to be like! The octopus over sliced potato with smoked paprika was packed with textures and flavours, like every other dish we ordered.
Pulpo a la gallega (octopus over potato with smoked paprika) was the perfect combination of flavours and textures...
The octopus was cooked to perfection. It was neither chewy nor dry and the smoked paprika took the dish to a whole new level. The sliced potato was cooked perfectly too and with a mouthful of the potato and octopus together, you could taste where the dish was taking you.
No Spanish experience will be complete without trying cured meats and cheeses. The Seleccion Mixta consisted of chorizo cuts, jamon Serrano and two cheeses. The presentation was tempting and each element offered a different experience from spice to buttery sharpness.
Bar Tapa is not just about their love of good food and great company but it is also about the passion and love they have for Sherry.
The Gonzalez-bypass tio pepe en rama is a Fino Sherry and does not go through filtration/ clarification process. Its strong aroma is misleading as it is not as strong as the aroma perceives. It is fresh from the cask and alive with flavour and has more nutty and yeasty aromas.
Osborne Mazanilla is another Fino Sherry, but is produced closer to the sea. You can taste the salty characteristics from the soil and air as an aftertaste.
The Gonzalez-Byass Tio Pepe En Rama & Osborne Manzanilla Sherry
After taking time out from our Spanish culinary affair, some slight room was made for dessert. Churros is a classic Spanish dessert and these churros were crispy on the outside and soft inside and were coated with sugar. I would have liked a little bit more sugar, but overall they were certainly a great ending treat!
Our dessert wine to accompany the tasty churros was Conde de la Cortina PX, once again a sherry. It is like a sweet cherry with offerings of baking spices, dark fruits and was not sickly sweet at all! The grapes are dried out to concentrate the sugars, making it the perfect fitting dessert wine.
The delicious Churros served with creamy milk chocolate sauce.
It was a bit of a sad moment when our Spanish fiesta experience was over, however, it certainly was not the end as we will be returning back for many more gastronomic experiences at Bar Tapa. Nothing can be faulted at Bar Tapa, from its wonderful hospitality and humble decor to its divine dishes.
Without a doubt, Bar Tapa will be put on the map as one of Sydney's best Spanish eats and it was truly ambrosial and you cannot help but be self-indulgent at Bar Tapa!