A few years ago I travelled to Madrid, mainly to look at art and enjoy a weekend without parental committments. And while seeing Yves Klein’s striking blue “La Victoria de Samotracia” in person was an enriching cultural adventure, it was the tapas that lingered longer in my memory. You can find it everywhere and you can have it any time of day, with coffee, a Coke or a glass of wine. The quality is always good whether you’re in a dusty old joint full of older men smoking and talking loudly or in a stylish bar in the heart of the city. I love the idea of tapas and I love eating it but sadly, the word is bandied about rather carelessly in Britain and you’ll see it used on any menu that is serving small plates of food; but Tapas is not a plate size – it’s an experience.
When I heard about Tapas Revolution opening in Windsor this October, of course, I was interested. Spanish TV chef Omar Allibhoy is on a mission to bring authentic tapas to Britain, and now to the long-suffering outer suburbs of the home counties that are crying out for London-quality establishments. Proper tapas has finally arrived in the Royal Borough. From the central location on Thames St, to the decor and ambience, Tapas Revolution is a place you want to be. It’s a place you want to visit with friends, family or work mates and linger over many rounds of drinks. It’s a place where you can enjoy tapas the way it is intended – a meandering, joyful, social gathering where the food is not merely an arbitrary snack to fill the void, but the guest of honour!
The seventh site for Allibhoy, this venue runs like a well-oiled machine with service to match the quality of the menu. Sourcing their ingredients – from the simplest produce to the finest delicacies – from Spain, you’re guaranteed to experience tapas as close to the real thing as possible. Going with my kids was not quite the languid, boozy visit I had in mind, but it gave me the chance to try more things from the menu. We started with jamon serrano gran reserva, which comes from free-range pigs, fed on chestnuts, giving it a sweet and nutty taste. We tried croquetas de jamon, (deep-fried cured ham and béchamel croquettes), torreznos con mojo dulce was a surprising mouthful of crispy pork belly with a darkly-sweet sauce. The chorizo a la sidra (spiced Asturian sausage roasted with cider) was definitely the best chorizo I’ve ever had, and the pollo en pepitoria (a chicken stew flavoured with cumin and saffron with almonds) was subtle, yet hearty. The marinated crispy chicken wings with a super-sweet lemon and honey dressing packed a citrusy punch and were the biggest, most succulent wings I’ve ever seen. We tried crispy fried aubergine with spiced honey and thyme dressing, calamari, roasted cod loin and black risotto and each and every dish was of the highest quality. While not every dish on the menu will appeal to the less-adventurous eater, the quality, variety and execution are second to none.
WIth lunch options, a kids menu and set-menu to choose from alongside the regular tapas menu, you’ll find something for any occasion. The restaurant opens up to a second level on weekends and for larger bookings, offering free use of secluded rooms for parties and festive gatherings.