Food Writer Emma Chambers provides a simple recipe ahead of Easter SundayWritten by Emma Chambers on 1st April 2017
Review: Tapas Revolution
Food Editor Lauren Kelly reviews Grand Central's Tapas Revolution
There are people out there who like Grand Central. But then, there are people out there who like Donald Trump. To me, the busy shopping complex is only comparable to hell. Aptly located above Birmingham’s stifling train station, the incessant attack of verbal diarrhoea over the tannoy truly grinds my gears; and, as for the overwhelming crowds of people, well, its pumping up my blood pressure even thinking about it. In regards to the food, again, there’s not much to like - unless of course a £4 Costa sandwich drooled in capitalism is your calling.
When I was invited to review Grand Central’s Tapas Revolution, you can surely appreciate why I was sceptical; I was expecting rip-off chorizo served by a Nando’s-esque I-couldn’t-be-more-British-if-I-tried waiter. Much to my surprise however, I was met with fresh, high quality tapas, made with ingredients sourced from across Spain, alongside a selection of exquisite cocktails; and, much to the embarrassment of my pronunciation, a waiter named Alfonso.
“I was met with fresh, high-quality tapas
To kick things off, we opted for the Torreznos Con Mojo Dulce (pork belly with sweet and spicy sauce, £5.95). Topped with a bubbly layer of crispy goodness, the pork was incredibly succulent and fell apart into thick, luscious strands. The spicy sauce added a little heat to the dish, but - speaking as someone who does not do spice - I can assure you, it was not too much and certainly did not overpower the meaty flavours, only complimented them.
From the vegetable section, we went simple and ordered Patatas Bravas (£3.95). I’ve never really got patatas bravas; after all, it is only spuds in tomato sauce. But, by adding chilli and alioli, the Grand Central restaurant managed to turn the humble potato into a dish with fantastic flavour.
Next up was Paella Valenciana (£4.95), Spain’s famous saffron rice dish cooked with chicken. To be honest, this was my least favourite tapas of the evening. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special either. The traditional family pleaser was a little bland for my liking and it was only after I’d strangled the lemon on the side of my plate that the dish gathered a much-needed oomph.
Then, well, they say save the best till last. And in this case, we really did. Chorizo a La Sidra (£5.75), I salute you. This spiced Asturian sausage roasted with cider was perhaps the best chorizo I have ever had. Rich, hearty and well-seasoned; I wolfed it down.
“Rich, hearty and well seasoned
We accompanied our tapas with four cocktails, created by award-winning The Cocktail Trading Co: Pimento & Marzipan Batida (£8.50), Blood Orange & Cherry Royal (£7.50), Veterano Julep (£8.00) and Sparkling Rose Margarita (£7.50). All four Spanish concoctions were fashioned with an array of ingredients and flavours, but my personal favourite was the Blood Orange & Cherry Royal: a blend of Larios gin, blood orange, aguardiente de cerezas, pimento dram shaken with caramelised pineapple and lime. The intense sweet tang, complemented with a hint of lime, made for a stellar cocktail.
I can’t recommend Tapas Revolution enough. The restaurant feels like a wholly successful return to founder Omar Allibhoy’s Spanish roots. Sure, it is smack bang in the middle of Grand Central but with refined authentic tapas and dangling jamón legs, I’d never felt so far away.