Escabeche Tapas bar & restaurant primarily serves up small plates of tasty and interesting Mediterranean food. It is located just alongside the strip in West Bridgford on the corner of Central Avenue and Bridgford Road. We popped in today to try out their lunchtime menu and decided to take a punt on their ‘menu rapido’ offer which was three tapas plates for £11.50, we selected 6 from a choice of 8 and sat back to wait. They did not take that long to start to appear, just about enough time to eat a couple of slices of bread with olive oil and some balsamic vinegar (tasty)
The first dish to arrive was the ‘Falafel, with pickled cucumber and a mint yoghurt’. The falafel were small but quite tasty they combined really well with the classic tastes from the fresh thinly sliced cucumber and the minted yoghurt. It gives a really nice cooling tang to the dish described quite well by Niki Segnit in her book “The Flavor Thesaurus” where the sensation is alikened to ‘a form of gastronomic air-conditioning‘. I wish I had come up with that line of prose. Even without all of my over-thought, or despite that (just eat it already), it is a nice little dish. The only thing wrong is that there were 5 bits so we had to fight or rather horse-trade over the last piece.
The next dish we sampled, which arrived at the same time, were the Spinach & Feta empanadas, these as you can imagine from the name were small little parcels filled with soft tangy feta and some chopped up spinach. I do like an empanada, the pastry was just a little thin for me, I suppose you could think of this as a variation on a typical Spanakopita using the same filling, but you know I am just thinking out loud there with my personal preferences, they were really good anyway.
The next dish to arrive was a surprise as we didn’t realize what a coco was. The Moroccan spiced lamb, pepper & mozzarella coca turned out to be a Catalan flatbread. The ground spiced lamb was really quite delicious, I am not sure what was in it but I thought I could taste cinnamon and cumin. There was a little bit of spice, but that was easily countered by the soft fluffy patches of mozzarella and the crunchy juicy pepper pieces. To be honest this was a quite large dish for a tapas plate but it would be good for sharing if there was more than two of us as I only really needed one slice (I still ate two slices though)
In terms of flavor and smell my favorite of the 6 dishes we ordered was the Mussel & smoked salmon gratin. This was a creamy mix of mussels, onion, garlic, and flaked chunks of salmon in a round flat pot covered in a lightly crisp coated of melted cheese. I enjoyed having quite a few spoons of this with the crusty sliced bread that was on the table. It had the best aroma of all the dishes and I will order this one again for certain.
The Seafood paella was filled with some prawns and sliced calamari, it was quite wet and seemed to have a quite powerful tomato flavor. It was a nice bowlful but not sure that I would have this one again with this combination, I would have to select more carefully to get a good match. It needs some more solid dishes (texturally) alongside it to make it sing a little better, you needed something to mop it up with.
The last dish that arrived was the Huevos rotos; essentially potatas, broken eggs, and pork. I did quite like the flavors in this, but it was quite dry and needed something alongside it or to mix with it. I wish that this had arrived at the same time as the Mussel & smoked salmon gratin as they would match up perfectly for me. Sadly though my lack of restraint meant that I had already eaten all the gratin before it arrived. Still I know for another time.
I would say that the ‘menu rapido’ for £11.50 is good value, especially if there are a couple of you so that you can switch and swop dishes. It is a good introduction to what Escabeche has to offer and it helps with thoughts on what I might have next time out. Not everything that I chose went well together, but every dish was tasty and I had no complaints about any of the choices.
On the main menu there were a whole lot of other dishes that I really fancy having a go at, just to mention a couple that caught my eye; the ‘escabeche meatballs with tomato sauce and parmesan‘, the ‘baby chorizo which is glazed in sherry vinegar and a honey’, the ‘iberico ham & peas topped with a fried egg’ (that has to be good), and last but not least ‘the beef shoulder (which is says is slow braised) with caramelized onions and a sherry reduction‘.
Yes I have to come back