Omar Allibhoy has been called many things: the Spanish version of Jamie Oliver and the ‘Antonio Banderas of cooking’. He trained with the legendary Ferran Adria of El Bulli and he has worked with Gordon Ramsay at Maze restaurant. With such a glittering CV, I would suggest he is his own man rather than comparing him to a fast fading Hollywood star.
If you are one of the people who like to order every starter on the menu and not get strange looks, this is the place for you. The tapas menu is inviting, fun and delectably irresistible. With most tapas dishes around £4.50-£6.50, it is quite tempting to order more than what your stomach can handle. Jamón serrano, Chorizo a la parrilla and Pulpo a la gallega all sounded divine and choosing your dishes is going to be a tricky affair here. They have a colourful specials board which also highlights dishes they recommend and special offers.
Looking at their specials board, you see that sangría and gin tonics are their specials here, although their Spanish take on the espresso martini looked very tempting. I would recommend trying their horchata, which is a classic Valencian non-alcoholic drink made with tigernut root. It tastes like an intense almond milk drink.
I opted to try the freshness of their produce by ordering seasoned thin slices of 45 day dry-aged rib eye from 8-year-old Basque cows and tuna carpaccio with coriander and mango dressing. The former did have an intense meaty flavour although the meat did stick stubbornly to the covering paper, I did wonder if it had been sitting in the fridge for a little while. The tuna was refreshing and fresh and the mango dressing actually opened up my appetite for even more tapas.
Next I tried the pink prawns cooked in olive oil and cayenne chilli, they were plump and meaty and had just the right amount of spices to flavour the dish. My Spanish tapas journey ended with a rice pudding with cinnamon, vanilla and caramelised krispies. Who would have thought rice pudding and krispies go together so well? Dare I say I might try making this dish at home, although it might come up very different to Omar’s version. His cookbook, Tapas Revolution was the best-selling Spanish tapas cookbook in 2013 when it came out. However, my recommendation is forget about the grocery shopping and washing up and take a short trip down to Shoreditch and sample Omar’s tapas delights.