I wont go into detail about my initial opinion of Tapas Revolution, but suffice to say it wasn’t particularly pleasant. It was a let down of a meal, a distance away from the food I had been told to expect from Omar Allibhoy, poster boy of Spanish cooking for a certain Gordan Ramsay. But that was a year ago, back when Tapas Revolution joined a host of other similar sized businesses in the colossal launch that is Grand Central. I’d heard since then that they had hit their stride, the quality of ingriedients starting to be backed-up by some consistent cooking from the open kitchen.
I’ve been back and am pleased to say it is better, significantly so in fact. Everything we ate was a marked step up from the early visits, more spritely and heavily punctuated with seasoning. The paella has transformed from a one note wonder into an authentic reproduction, still heavy on saffron though now deeply savoury. Bread comes smeared with a pungent garlic sauce and draped with thin slivers of serrano ham which more than stands up for itself amongst the big flavours. Okay, perhaps the patatas bravos could have had crisper spuds and more of the tomato sauce, but these are small pickings.
From the new menu we try three of the five recently added dishes. The lamb is a let down; a distance away from the pink we were promised with a spring onion, radish and pomegranate dressing that fails to add anything. We leave half the portion untouched. Deep fried pastries with goats cheese and spinach are moreish bites which are enhanced by a saffron marmalade that adds a nice counteractive balance, whilst a salad of butternut squash and manchego is enhanced by a raisin and pine nut vinaigrette that lifts everything around it. Its clever touches like this that make me like a place.
Chorizo braised in cider reaches us so hot that the ceramic bowl is cracking in front of us. We take this as a cue to pile it on to bread, steeping it with the thickened sauce. It’s a wise move. The chorizo is properly meaty, the cider sauce an almost British choice of accompaniment that cuts through the sausage. Best of all is cod, baked until the flesh is just cooked and the peppers and olives underneath are blistered and charred. Its a super bit of cooking, the tang and metallic notes of the veg working well with the fish.
We finish with churros and a chocolate dipping sauce, where the deep fried and sugared pastry hit a higher note than the slightly thin sauce. The service, much like the food, was charming and warm. Overall I was quite impressed with Tapas Revolution, initially leaving me to think that I had possibly been over harsh on my first visit. Talking to others I don’t think that I have; I am not alone with my assessment that it has improved, and that itself is an achievement for a group which continues to grow. For those looking for a feed in the centre of Birmingham you could do far worse than eat here. Its certainly the best cooking to be found in Grand Central
I was invited to eat at Tapas Revolution