Having been in a Spanish mood recently, I went with a couple of friends to Basque Tapas and Wine on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I was running late, so I left the menu choices in the hands of my very capable dining companions.
As we had booked using an internet deal, I was told that choices were limited to a special menu that was still extensive none-the-less. So what did they choose? Four tapas and two paella dishes with four serves of red wine sangria (with apples, pears, Cointreau, vodka, gin and lemonade)! I was almost an hour late (shame on me) but the tapas dishes had just been served when I arrived.
Up first, Pimientos del piquillo rellenos de arroz negro y calamares (Piquillo peppers stuffed with squid and black ink rice).
Pimientos del piquillo rellenos de arroz negro y calamares
Looks and sounds quite interesting right? Well it was, but it was also quite tasty. I can’t say that I tasted much of the squid as the peppers were quite overpowering, but there was no doubt that it was good. Patatas bravas (crispy potatoes sprinkled with pimienton served with aioli and Brava sauce) on the other hand tasted exactly as expected. The potatoes were served hot and were crispy and well seasoned. I don’t think they would have tasted good cold, but then again, they didn’t last that long.
The best tapas dish by far though was the Brandada de espinacas y alcachofas (oven roasted artichoke hearts and spinach pate) with toasted bread topped with olive oil. Deliciously creamy!
Brandada de espinacas y alcachofas
The last tapas dish confused me somewhat as I wasn’t there when my friends ordered, and doesn’t seem to be in the online menu. It seemed to be pork ribs in an Asian sauce and while the sauce was very well made, the pork was a touch on the tough side.
This was all accompanied by a salad that had just a little too much olive oil. I prefer much fresher salads and would usually pick an Asian salad over a Mediterranean salad, but each to their own.
The main course was the paella (of course). We had ordered a serve of Paella Mariscos (paella of seafood with clams, mussels, calamari, fish, prawns, capsicum and saffron rice) for two, and a serve of Paella Valenciana (paella of wild rabbit, chicken, mushrooms, vegetables and saffron rice) for two. What we got was…
…a serve of the Paella Mariscos for four. Good as the dish was more than satisfactory. Not so good when one of my companions doesn’t eat seafood. After much negotiating with the waiter, we ended up with a take-away container of the Paella Valenciana.
If hadn’t had the voucher, I don’t think that the meal would have been worth the price, and the service wasn’t the best. For how much we did pay though, the meal was satisfactory. It may be a good while before I head back there again though.
Basque Tapas and Wine
159 Chapel Street, Prahran/Windsor
Mon-Thu 10am-11pm, Fri-Sun 8am-1am