Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who voted UKIP six elections in a row
IF Spanish food’s any good, how come the Costa del Sol’s full of English pubs selling English food? Answer me that.
Exactly. But there’s a fancy new tapas place opening by the ringroad, so as Warwickshire’s resident gastronaut I’m duty-bound to give it the once-over.
The place used to be a Poppins, serving proper dishes like fish fingers and chips, sausage and mash and full English breakfasts. Back when this country embraced its own national cuisine, before we all pretended to be in fucking Barcelona.
The decor is a gaudy hotch-potch of childish colour and pictures of street carnivals in Madrid or some shit. It’s a country where sport means dressing up to get chased around by an angry bull, so gravitas and good taste are not their strong points.
The staff are mostly young Spaniards, with a smattering of eastern Europeans. Family business propped up with immigrants. Thought we’d Got Brexit Done? More fool you.
I ordered a selection of tapas. When in Rome, so to speak. Tapas, I Googled, translates as ‘lid’ or ‘cover’ and historically refers to a slice of bread placed over your sherry glass to keep flies out of it and to nibble on while you drink. Though presumably the flies would have been all over the bread. With these hygiene standards it’s no wonder I didn’t do a solid stool for a week in Fuerteventura.
First problem? The portion sizes are fucking tiny. If an army marches on its stomach it’s no wonder the Spanish sat on the fence through World War Two, to their eternal shame.
The paella, a traditional Andalucian rice dish, is a confused offering including chicken, sausage and prawns. Like they’re dithering over what to eat and go with a bit of everything. More fence-sitting indecision, but like I say, World War Two.
Other specialities included chorizo – a kind of Spanish attempt at sausage, but riddled with garlic and paprika and other bollocks. The courgette croquettes looked promising, closely resembling McNuggets as they do, but were mostly herbs and air.
Then there were mussels. Fucking mussels! Who the fuck wants to eat a slimy sea snail with a consistency like warm snot?
There was also a noticeable lack of chips. Now, you may say chips aren’t traditional Spanish food, but ever had patatas bravas? Chips and ketchup. So they’ve no excuse.
I skipped dessert as my guts were backflipping after the mussels. I didn’t hang around for the bill as I’m a food critic. And anyway I didn’t give my real name and I won’t be going back.