20 June 2011

The Revolution Starts at Opening Time

Tapas amongst the bright lights and booming music of Westfield

Tapas revolutionA lot has already been written about Spanish Chef Omar Allibhoy if the Tapas Revolution website is to be believed. He is, apparently the Spanish Jamie Oliver, set to cause a sensation with his fresh cooking and Flamenco personality.
In which case the decision to site his first British venture in the temple of consumption that is Shepherds Bush’s Westfiled Shopping Centre would seem to make sense. Everything here is brash and bright, overtly commercial but guaranteed to have most diners rushing for the exit…if they can find it.

The food is cooked fresh and delivered quickly from behind a curved bar area where the Plancha and meat slicer are located. There is a fine selection of Spanish charcuterie including Jamon Iberico de bellota Gran Reserva, yet from the start you cant miss the fact that you are in a shopping centre and all around you is the din of conspicuous consumption, lost children and shrilling ring tones.

My Calamar a la Plancha were soft and well grilled, though way too heavy on the garlic, Pinchos Morunos were beautiful tender cubes of beef, marinated in paprika and red pepper sauce served on the spike while Esparragos con Manchego combined the saltiness of the cheese with the zing of the asparagus.

Not a lot wrong with the food, its just the wrong place to eat it. Perhaps I was unlucky to have chosen the day of a film premiere with Tom Hanks eliciting squeals before Sophie Ellis-Bextor gave it her best shot beneath the acoustically appalling atrium.

The menu has other appetising items, Pulpo a la Gallega, octopus with potatoes and paprika or Carrilleras, braised pork cheeks in sherry for example, plus a good looking selection of Bocadilos, however the atmosphere is all wrong. Loud and intimidating, despite the quality of food I couldn’t wait to leave never to return.

Not even a very acceptable glass of El Muro Carinera could calm things and with head throbbing I paid the completely extortionate sum of £25 for my 3 small dishes and glass of wine, and left.
Perhaps if Omar can open in a couple of high streets he will have a hit on his hands but in Westfield the Revolution is wasted. 

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