If you are a vegetarian trying to avoid carbohydrates, then it is possibly a good idea to avoid a tapas bar.
I don’t think that I have ever actually had proper tapas before – that is tiny bowls of food provided while drinking in a bar. As my husband has a small appetite, we often used to order several small bowls of food when we were eating out on holiday, but that was in Greece so can hardly count. We did go to the Canary Islands a couple of times, but we did not get much tapas on offer over there.
Tonight my work colleague and I caught up with a friend who is working overseas at the moment and is over in W Oz on a flying visit. My colleague suggested a local tapas bar and I was interested to find out what it was like. I go out so infrequently that I am appalling at choosing a food venue. She, however is a social butterfly who is always meeting people for breakfast or coffee or dinner and had already dined at Pinchos a couple of times. Our back up plan was pizza if we could not get a table.
The restaurant, in the suburb of Leederville, is very small and does not really take bookings. The staff all appear to be Spanish – or at least the ones that we talked to were – and the menu is pretty much all Tapas. You sit down at a table and are given a menu printed on a piece of paper which has check boxes beside each item. You simply tick the items that you want and they all come out.
The items are all marked with V for vegetarian M for meat (I suppose) and F for fish (I think). As I had first crack at the menu, I just ticked off a load of Vs all of which sounded delicious and all of which were heavy on the carb side. Then I slid the menu over and my companions ticked some more boxes.
This was our feast: Manchero cheese (which came with bread), warm bread (which came with oil and balsamic vinegar to dip), patatas bravas (big square chips, really but with a spicy fresh tomato sauce), Mushroom and cheese croquettes (which I unkindly descibed as deep fried mashed potato to our friend) and Calimari for the flesh eaters, with a crispy textured batter.
It was lovely – although probably more carbs than I have had since Christmas. I blame my lack of resolve on the lack of lunch I had and actually I am now beginning to feel a little hungry again, but I had miso and vegetable soup last night so I am hoping the two days will kind of balance out.
All that I would have needed to top it off would have been a number of small glasses of wine, but as I was driving the whole meal was washed down with a Diet Coke, but pleasingly one that came in a bottle with a glass and ice on the side – just like they do in Europe.
I will take the carb hit without guilt. The food was hot and tasty, the conversation fun and the evening warm enough to sit outside in a T shirt. It almost felt like being on holiday again.