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Published July 13th 2016
A Different Dining Experience
Tapas, like so many foreign cuisines, is taking off like wildfire in Australia. Tapas bars popping up all over Perth, and it's really no wonder. In today's fast-food society, this time-indulgent eating style really means a break from the everyday, and is all about relaxing and savouring the experience.
Some of the places around Perth hold fast to the Spanish traditions, like Pinchos or Rustico, while others, like the Cavern embrace the style, with a less exotic palate.
A Moroccan salad with pearl couscous, by The Cavern (Image from The Cavern, Facebook)
Tapas is a series of carefully constructed, entree-like dishes that are shared by the table to allow a taste of each. They simply roll out as they are ready, and are generally enjoyed with liberal amounts of wine in between. It is not so much about filling your stomach, as it is a gastronomic experience.
It's a far cry from the fast food that Aussies accustomed to, with only a small amount of each food, and slower place. It blends the social, with the food, with the drink, which for most people are the three cornerstones of a good time.
Tapas is a full evening event, and best suited to groups of 4-6- enough people that you can order several dishes, but still get a good sample of each. The restaurants are usually set up to be cosy, with comfortable chairs and low lighting. It provides an atmosphere to compliment the meal- relaxed and social. Tapas is as much about the drink as about the food, hence the term Tapas 'Bar', and there's usually an extensive wine list alongside the menu.
Tapas is not cheap, but to make it more affordable there are usually filler plates like bread and dip, or even fries, that feature on the menu.
A Relaxed Evening Out at Rustico Tapas in Rockingham (Image From Rustico Tapas, Facebook)
My two favourite Tapas bars are conveniently located far away from each other
. The Cavern in the hills has only been open a few years, but already has a strong reputation in the hills area for its spectacular arrangements of local ingredients. The Cavern serves modern Australian cuisine, and ranges from $25-40 for most of the dishes. It understandably gets quite crowded, but the c-shaped restaurant still manages to maintain a cozy warm feel. Although it isn't cheap, especially when it comes to the wine, it's well worth it for a special night.
Rustico in Rockingham provides a more authentic Spanish experience, with several eating options available, that reflect the origins of Tapas. Not only the food, but also the decor and right through the experience. Check out their website for some of the events and special evenings that are often hosted their. Rustico is family friendly, and a great place for a birthday or celebration where good food and lots of laughter are needed.