Tapas For A Tenner At La Tasca
Unmissable offer or Daylight Robbery?
Things I knew about La Tasca before my visit included the fact that the Spanish-themed restaurant chain welcomes parties of stags, hens, speed daters and run popular salsa classes. There is definitely enough of a hot blooded Spanish atmosphere to carry off a good party – unfortunately the luke warm food and the most appalling service I have encountered in a long time left me cold.
The whole idea of reviewing the tapas restaurant came about when my Ealing counterpart Charlie Caniff* tried out her branch of La Tasca and was totally underwhelmed. Not even a scathing review from a Spaniard, who was so appalled that La Tasca was purporting to serve her native dishes she started a Real Spanish Food campaign, dampened my confidence that the Chiswick branch would be in a different league.
My confidence though was entirely misplaced. Even the "Tapas for a Tenner" offer did little to brighten my mood during the 20 minute wait to catch our waiter’s eye. In fairness he was the only one out of the five members of staff who was actually doing anything other than wandering around with no sense of purpose and charming when he managed to a moment to take our order. He even politely told my “there’s always a catch” husband five times that “yes he could eat much tapas as he liked for the sum of £10”. I would like to find other nice things to say about our waiter but I can’t other than he brought the correct wine – Siglo Saco Crianz £14.95.
The tapas way of eating - lots of small tasters - comes from the Spanish word 'Tapa', meaning 'lid'. According to a colleague the story goes that when farmers went to their local 'Tasca' – 'inn' for a drink at the end of the day, the innkeeper would place a slice of bread on top of their glass to ward off flies. Gradually they began placing nibbles on top of their bread - cured meats, sausages and tapas was born.
The tapas was awful – luke warm Berenjenas Grantinadas (aubergine), chunks of battered chicken in the Fritura Mixta de Pascado (a mixed fish dish) and a spinach salad literally swimming in oil to describe just a few. Although, there was one dish that we both agreed was good – Chorizo Frito al Vino (chorizo cooked in wine).
However, the evening was not a total disaster. Thursday evenings are live music evenings at La Tasca and we were treated the authentic Spanish sounds from two charismatic crooners and their special guests. Their sets had the diners dancing, bar flies bopping and even had my husband calling for an encore (although that may have had more to do with the quantity of wine he had consumed to take away the taste of the tapas!). The bill came to £54.95 which included two bottles of wine but excluded service which we didn't pay.
To surmise good fun atmosphere, sluggish service, appalling food but we would admit we enjoyed the experience but only thanks to the great music but not enough to ever return.
May 17, 2007