Incredibly, I had not been to Tapas Revolution prior to this visit. I don’t know why; I bloody love the food of Spain. In fact, thinking about it now, I haven’t been to any of the Spanish restaurants in Birmingham (bar the excellent El Borracho pop up at 1000 Trades). I am a disgrace. I hold my head in shame. Now this means that I can’t directly compare Tapas Revolution to its local competition, but what I can do is tell you that at times it transported me back to Valencia, where the food and wine are plentiful. Oh, and owner Omar is dishy. It’s little wonder they have his face everywhere.
We take a seat at the long copper counter (just like proper Spaniards, only more pasty) and dive straight into the new cocktail menu. A blood orange and cherry royal is excellent, as is a boozy julep made with wild strawberry and pomegranate. From the tapas menu we start with bread which is generously topped with garlicky tomato sauce and serrano ham. It is wonderful; punchy and meaty, the ham impeccably sourced. Pork belly, probably my favourite dish of the evening, arrives pan fried to a crisp, with a heady sauce that makes me want to lick the plate clean. I don’t, but only because I am in company and my mother would be ashamed.
Padron peppers are one of my favourite things in the world; if they are on a menu I order them without fail. These do not disappoint. They are blistered by heat and sprinkled liberally with sea salt. They pretty much dissolve in the mouth, leaving behind the warmth of a very mild chilli heat and the smug feeling of discovering the best way to consume one of your five a day. Paella is technically very competent, the rice accurately cooked, the dish boldly seasoned. The chicken is still tender and the bite of the green beans is welcome. Like all well-made paella the joy is at the bottom of the pan where the rice has gone crunchy and absorbed all the flavour. If you were unaware of that before, claim that shit as your own next time. It’s where the party is at.
Cocktails three and four are a margarita with sparkling rose that reminds me a little of my favourite Aperol Spritz, and a Batida which sounds like it should be far too sweet but delivers plenty of grown-up flavours. We finish up the savoury courses with a solid rendition of patatas bravas and the only misstep in the meal, a cod loin that had been cooked a minute too long, with an underwhelming pea puree. Not even sobrasda, the spreadable chorizo paste straight from the Gods, could save it. It’s not a bad dish, it just wasn’t as good as the previous dishes.
We finish off by sharing churros. Not because we need anymore food, but because the lovely waitress insists on it. We’re pleased that she did – they are lighter than they look, with a decadent chocolate sauce that induces sadness when it finishes. I forgot to take a picture; this is proof of my enjoyment. And with that we’re off, brimming with food and a little more tipsy than we arrived. We had a really lovely meal – one where the flavours were authentic and the service well led – and it has reignited my love for Spanish food.
Spanish restaurants of Birmingham, I’m sorry. It wasn’t you, it was me. Let’s get it on.