Tapas Revolution has been making a bit of a name for itself not just in tapas circles, but general restaurant circles since this modest chain (there are 7 branches across the UK at the time of writing) first launched in London in 2010.
Part of this has to do with the brand’s charismatic founder, chef Omar Allibhoy, who among many other interesting facts was trained by legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adria and received his own level of critical acclaim in London before deciding to start Tapas Revolution.
So, before walking in to the newly-opened restaurant in Bath, I knew that the intentions behind this place were good, and that the team behind it knew their stuff too.
However, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Bath branch for another run of the mill tapas chain as you walk in, with the tiled bar, large sherry barrels (some halved with lights in!) and hanging hams. Also, the general size of the place, plus the exposed walls, neon lights and stools stuck to the wall make this feel a bit like an Iberian Byron burger. But fear not – once you take a look at the menu, the authenticity becomes far more apparent.
The menu is split into manageable chunks of nibbles, cured meats & cheeses, meaty dishes, seafood dishes and vegetable dishes. There’s enough here that will be familiar to the occasional tapas muncher, with a few lesser-seen on the high street options, such as Padron peppers, morcilla (Spanish black pudding) and crispy pork belly.
Whilst we deliberated, we took advantage of Happy Hour (sangria half price, or 2 for 1 cocktails and G&Ts from 4-7pm, Sunday to Friday) and ordered a glass of Sangria each – usually they’re £4.50 per glass or £14.95 for a jug, which isn’t too shabby. The sangria was alright, not the best I’ve tasted or the worst, but it was a good thirst-quencher nevertheless.
Here’s what we opted for:
- 24 month aged Jamón Ibérico de bellota Montenevado, £9.50
- Albóndigas (beef meatballs in a tomato & vegetable sauce), £6.25
- Chorizo a la parrilla (grilled chorizo with piquillo pepper on toasted bread), £5.95
- Patas Bravas
- Ensalada de tomate con queso de cabra
- Croquetas de jamón
- Torreznos con mojo dulce (crispy pork belly with sweet sauce), £5.75
All of the dishes came out separately but not with too much of a gap in between. The portion sizes were generous, and everything looked appetising when it arrived to the table.
Highlights for me were the pork belly (a good amount of crunch on the outside, with the fat soft and well rendered, a good amount of spice on the meat, and the mojo sauce was sweet, sticky and slightly spiced – a bit rich if you had the whole portion to yourself, but very tasty for a couple of morsels!), the croquetas (gooey balls of cheesy, meaty goodness – so comforting), and the salad, which cut through the other dishes really well, and if anything I could have happily ordered a portion double the size and polished it off.
For our wine we went for house red, Pez de Rio Tempranillo (£16.95), which was a tasty Spanish number – very quaffable without being too strong or overbearing on the food.
Service throughout was friendly, attentive and helpful without being too invase – the only thing that sat a bit awkwardly was everyone waving “Hola!” as we came in, and “Adios!” as we left – it felt a bit forced and holiday camp-esque, but maybe they’re all just super keen and I’m being a cynic.
I enjoyed my evening at Tapas Revolution – there’s no missing the fact that it’s a chain with eyes on rolling out even more locations across the country, but for the price and quality it’s hard to fault.
One for birthdays and pre-drinking nibbles, it’s no surprise that the place was heaving on the night we visited – and even though I prefer my tapas restaurants small and cosy (check out Bravas or El Rincon for good examples, or Pata Negra for a slightly snazzier approach), it does what it sets out to do; bringing tasty Spanish food to the masses in a fun and friendly way.
20A St Lawrence St
Bath BA1 1AN
Disclaimer: We received this meal free of charge but this did not affect our opinion, and we were not asked to send any copy in advance.