One of the latest trends in the culinary world is tapas. It’s all about serving and enjoying ‘more than an appetizer but not quite a meal’ sized portions. Although tapas generally have a Mediterranean flair, restaurants across the country are customizing their small-plate cuisine for an in-style addition to the standard three-meal selection.It is known that ‘tapas’ means ‘to cover’ with the legend that over hundreds of years ago, bartenders would cover glasses of wine with a flat piece of bread to protect it from insects. Over time, toppings were added to the bread, and tapas evolved into a custom of offering flavourful bites of food with wine.” says Sergi Rostoll
In 2006 a Spanish wine merchant called Sergi Rostoll discovered a gap in the market. Rostoll says, “There was nobody offering tapas with wine, and Spanish wines and tapas go so naturally together, so I thought why not start something?”
Rostoll then searched for and found an established deli in Ortigas called Barcino Gourmet, which he bought into and added a small kitchen and some tables and chairs. Today the Barcino Group has five outlets in Spain and is known for its Gambas al ajilo and other traditional Spanish snacks.
As a dish…
Tapas can be served cold, such as mixed olives, cheese and cured meats or warm, such as fried baby squid or filo pastry filled lamb pockets. Tapas has evolved into an entire, and sometimes sophisticated, cuisine. A selection of tapas can be ordered and combined to make a full meal. When you serve tapas, you can serve countless combinations, limited only by the imagination of the chef.
Tapas shared amongst friends have become a popular alternative to traditional restaurant meals in Cape Town. Here are a few of our favourite spots that offer tapas style cuisine in the Mother City:
Fork – http://www.fork-restaurants.co.za – 021 424 6334
· Deep fried goats cheese on sundried tomato biscuits with a port onion marmalade – vegetarian tapas
· Beef fillet on crouton with mushroom, onion rings and a red wine reduction – meat tapas
French Toast – www.frenchtoastwine.com 021 422 3839
· Salmon ceviche with an Asian dressing – light tapas
· Lamb pinchos with a rosemary jus – hot tapas
Salero – www.salerotapas.co.za (soon to be launched) 021 421 1916
· Serano ham and melon – cold tapas
· Sauteéd potato, choriço and olives – warm tapas