Salvador and Amanda – Bloomsbury

Reviewed on April 17th, 2014 by Dina

Salvador and Amanda is a Spanish restaurant focussing on tapas. It has more of a bar like informal environment. There are small booth sections on the raised levels. The little white washed alcoves have cushioned seating and small buffets. Even though the seating was supposed to feel quite relaxing, it was difficult to get comfortable.

Our tapas selection started off with some salted smooth Marcona almonds and grilled tomato bread. The artisan bread was toasted and topped with a paste of fresh flavoursome tomatoes.

The Spanish omelette was a classic choice and you can never go wrong with the potatoes teamed with the egg. It was crispy on the outside and not overcooked.

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The highlights of the meal were the two fish dishes. The garlic black rice was delicious with the squid and prawns. The rice was cooked so that it was not too soft. The pan fried cod with samphire was a fairly big portion. The cod was succulent and came dressed in a light sauce.

The staff were friendly although at times it was hard to get their attention. There were no complaints to be had at all about the food. It was served swiftly and it was all tasty.

Salvador and Amanda is open till the early hours, just in case you are looking for somewhere late at night. It can be spotted by the neon lit sign on the exterior.

Salvador and Amanda, 1 Vernon Place, Bloomsbury, London, WC1A 2EP

Rating: ★★★★☆

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The Tapas Tree Restaurant- Shipley

Reviewed on October 12th, 2013 by Dina

It was a little daunting to introduce the family to a new cuisine. Personally, I am a big fan of Spanish food but I wasn’t sure if my mom would like it, even though she said that it would be fine.

The entrance to The Tapas Tree looked like it was part of a house but on entering, all the warm colours and decor made it very inviting. The dining area was really spacious and there was a bar area near towards the entrance.

The Tapas Tree menu had a lot of choice and it took us a while to decide on what to order. After ordering, we had to wait slightly longer for the food but the results were freshly prepared hot food. It was delightful to the eye and the portions were big. The expectation of tapas has always been small portions but this was not the case here!

A big plate of crispy corn nachos topped with a thick tomato sauce, sour cream and melted cheese was a good classic combination. Another filling dish was the Pan Con Tomate. This was like a pizza baguette in the sense that the toasted bread quarters were topped with tomato, garlic, butter and cheese.

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Small button mushrooms coated in garlic and butter made up the Champinones Con Garlic. Lots of flavour for such a simple dish! You can never get tired of Patatas Bravas; cubed, deep fried potatoes and tomato sauce!

To have a combination of vegetables, the Vegetable Chilli was a good choice. Chunky vegetables, beans, sour cream and cheese made up this hearty dish. One choice that did pleasantly surprise us was the Jalapeno Melters. Breadcrumbed jalapeno peppers were filled with soft cheese and green chilli. The peppers were not at all spicy which was to my liking and they were very moreish.

As if all these tapas dishes were not enough, we couldn’t resist having dessert. One of the specials was chosen and on this evening, it was the Ginger and White Chocolate Cheesecake. Again, The Tapas Tree does not skimp on portion size. Pieces of ginger entwined in the creamy cheesecake mixture, all on a good thick biscuit base made up this dessert. There wasn’t too much of the white chocolate flavour coming through but it was still a good dessert.

A big square of Sticky Toffee Pudding surrounded by a creamy butterscotch sauce and topped with vanilla ice cream is how the Tapas Tree does this dessert. This dessert is always a favourite of mine and it went down well!

The staff were really friendly and gave us great service. They made our evening feel relaxed and not at all rushed. The Tapas Tree menu also states the gluten free options which is good for those diners with this dietary requirement.

The Tapas Tree sure did impress us all with its food, atmosphere and service. Spanish food done well and the family did enjoy all the food! Nothing disappointed us and my family are lucky to have such a quality restaurant in their local area. We were that impressed with the food that we took a separate order back home for my dad to enjoy!

If you are in the area, or even if you are not, then The Tapas Tree is a place that you should definitely pay a visit to!

The Tapas Tree Restaurant, Wharf House, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD17 7DW

Rating: ★★★★★

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Camino (Cruz del Rey) – Kings Cross

Reviewed on November 23rd, 2012 by Dina

A close friend’s birthday gathering brought us all together for a tapas evening at Camino! Starting off in the bar area was a good way to start the birthday celebrations. It had a lively and quite an energetic atmosphere. You can always end your evening back in the bar area after your meal!

There are quite a lot of cocktails on offer! As I wanted a non-alcoholic drink, the bartender made me a cocktail which was a combination of peach purée, passion fruit purée, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice. It was slightly fizzy, sweetish, orangey pink coloured and was delicious!

As there was a fairly big group of us, it gave us the chance to try lots of dishes. Tapas is perfect for sharing and sampling different tastes and flavours!

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The Tortilla De Patata was a good sized wedge of potato omelette. There were thick slices of potato surrounded by egg. It was simple but good. The Alcachofas was something quite different. It had the artichoke as a base and it was stuffed with chickpea puree and romesco sauce. The flavours worked and it was quite hearty.

A lighter dish was the Escalivada. This vegetarian dish was charcoal grilled shallot, aubergine and red pepper. It came with crisp bread on the side. The Pimientos De Padron were little green peppers that had been sauteed. They weren’t hot peppers, although it is a bit like Russian roulette, as these peppers are known to have the odd pepper that can be too hot to eat! So you take your chances with the Pimientos De Padron.

The Huevo Con Calabaza is good for sharing. It comes in a metal skillet and is a dish of roasted butternut squash, egg, sauteed potato, sage and truffle butter. As the vegetables are cube sized, it is not a stodgy dish.

There were a couple of seafood dishes that we had as well. The Chipironese A La Andaluza was crisp fried baby squid. It came with lemon and aioli. The baby squid was soft and not rubbery as it had been cooked just right.

Saving the best till last was the Arroz Negro. This was the classic black Calasparra rice cooked with squid ink, cuttlefish and ailoi. It is the first time that I have tried black rice and it was so tasty. It had a rich flavour and was not overly fishy!

As it was a birthday celebration, what better way to celebrate than with a selection of desserts, tapas style! There was almond cake, molten hot chocolate pudding, a shot of white chocolate mousse with dark coffee foam, orange and vanilla Catalan custard cream with crunchy caramel and ice cream. All of the desserts were delicious and each had its unique flavour. It was a totally perfect way to end the evening meal.

Camino is a big restaurant and we were seated in a semi circle booth. The walls are decorated with framed flamenco related pictures. The staff were great and gave us good service. They were friendly and made sure that everything was to our satisfaction. It is highly recommended to make a reservation if you want to dine at Camino.

Camino (Cruz del Rey), 3 Varnishers Yard, The Regents Quarter, Kings Cross, London, N1 9FD

Rating: ★★★★★

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