Restaurant review: Tapas Revolution, Newcastle

Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people.
Adam Lowe

Tapas Revolution is a new eaterie opened at Eldon Square in Newcastle. The brain-child of Spanish TV chef Omar Allibhoy, the restaurant specialises in tapas and a continental, informal dining style.

Talking to Chronicle Live, Allibhoy said, ‘I wouldn’t consider us a Spanish restaurant, it’s a tapas bar. It brings the bar element, the cafe element and the restaurant altogether, like the traditional tapas bars back in Spain.

‘A tapas bar in Spain is conceived for absolutely everything you may need, whether it is coffee in the morning, light lunch, menu del dia, the set menu, or after work for drinks or a proper sit-down dinner. That is what the concept embraces, it is all-day.

‘It’s the meeting point in Spain. In Britain you would say, let’s meet in a pub, let’s meet for a pint. In Spain we say let’s meet for tapas. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to eat tapas all the time, it means that you can come for a beer, a gin and tonic, or a coffee and some breakfast and it is all combined.’

In other words, we knew to expect a lively atmosphere and that’s precisely what we got. Guests can either sit at the bar or in the restaurant – but the bar probably offers a more relaxed, authentic experience. This is the kind of place you’d go for drinks and nibbles before a night out. The food is designed for discussion and socialising, rather than quietly sitting there working through a large main course and marvelling over the latest gastronomy. The promise is straightforward: come along, have drinks, have food, and have fun.

The menu facilitates that with a decent cocktail menu, a nice selection of G&Ts in balloon glasses, and some good coffee (and tea). There’s a decent tapas menu, big plates for a more traditional eating style or for sharing, and a gluten-free menu – so there’s something for everyone.

We started off by ordering cocktails while perusing the food options. Above is the Basque Country fizz and the blood orange and cherry royal to whet our appetites before tapas! The Basque Country fizz is sloe berry gin with a touch of aniseed, fig and apricot sherry and bitter peach, topped with crisp cava. The blood orange and cherry royal was Larios gin, blood orange, aguardiente de cerezas and pimento dram shaken with lemon and topped again with cava.

Another cocktail that really jumped out at us was the smoked quince gin sour: Larios gin, smoked quince, paprika, fig liqueur, Xanté pear brandy and grape juice shaken with lemon, and egg white. Served on the rocks with a chorizo and olive garnish.

We’d come here, even if we weren’t hungry, just to sample the drinks – although getting some olives or bread would be great either way.

We opted for a few tapas dishes each, rather than the larger platos, steak or paella. That way we could try a few things and it wouldn’t interrupt the flow of our conversation. We started off with the amazing pork belly in the torreznos con mojo dulce! Crispy, spicy, on the outside and tender underneath. Perfect and a great match for the cocktails.

Next up we had the sepia a la plancha, a lovely, garlicky cuttlefish with parsley and extra virgin olive oil. This was succulent and packed with flavour, and texture-wise was a real treat.

You can’t go wrong with a decent patatas bravas, so we made sure we ordered some. The alioli was delicious against the tomato, and the potatoes were nice and salty.

Next up we had chorizo in cider reduction. Probably my favourite dish of the night, the slight sweetness of the cider worked well with the smokiness of the chorizo. Served with baby gem lettuce and bread, you probably won’t want to share this baby.

The calamares frito looked like curly fries, which was a nice touch, and differentiated them from the cuttlefish. They were very, very tasty and served with a creamy alioli we recognised from the patatas bravas.

We also had the berenjenas fritas con miel – crispy fried aubergine with a spiced honey and thyme dressing, which were nice, although we were very full by the time they arrived which impeded our enjoyment of them. Portions are not an issue here!

Tapas Revolution is a bustling, friendly place – perfect for groups and cocktails before your night out.

For more information and to book a table, visit tapasrevolution.com/newcastle.

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