Wednesday, May 25, 2011

El Tablao

A month ago, a cousin of mine had come down from abroad, and she was here for a whole month. Last weekend was when she was to leave, and so before she left, us cousins (those who could make it) decided to go out for dinner. We settled down on El Tablao in Koramangala. El tablao, if you didn't already know, or haven't guessed, served Spanish food, with a special emphasis on tapas. The menu of El Tablao can be found here on the Zomato website.

We started our meal with a couple of sangrias. Now my understanding of a sangria was that it was a mixture of wine along with brandy and some chopped fruits. However, the one we were served had only wine (or had so much wine it totally masked the brandy). It tasted good though, so I guess it was ok. Was a little depressed that when it came to spirits, there was no beer (guess it didn't fit in with the tapas concept). Expectedly, they had a big list of wines, some martinis and gin (I think), along with the sangrias, but no beer. And while sipping on the sangrias, we also munched on some of the acclaimed tapas on offer.

We started off with the chorizo, the famed sausages from Spain. The ones served here were chopped and sautéed in red wine. These tasted quite good, but a little hard, which made me assume this was the cured (smoked) version. I thought the chorizo would've been spicier, but then perhaps that's the Mexican variety (totally different from the Spanish one, which uses paprika).

One of my cousins has turned vegetarian for a short period, and so for him we ordered the patatas bravas, which is generally a very popular bar snack. It was served with a spicy sauce that seemed to get its zing from a dash of vinegar in it. The other dish that we ordered to warm the cockles of my cousin during his vegetarian escapade was a Spanish omelette. OK, not vegetarian, eggitarian!. The Spanish omelette was near perfect - fluffy, almost like a cake, although when we ripped the top open, it started to deflate.

Patatas bravas

Spanish omelette

My brother isn't too adventurous when it comes to food, and so to make sure that he didn't end up eating stuff that made him uneasy, we did end up ordering a chicken tapa, called brocheta de pollo Pimientos y cebolla, or skewers of chicken breast marinated in spices, peppers and onions. I'm guessing the 'spices' were essentially paprika and some garlic. Well cooked, and no complaints.

We also ordered a plate of the lamb chops, although why the description states this as lamb cutlets, none of us knew. There were solid bones, as one would expect in a lamb chop, and there wasn't a hint of minced meat anywhere in sight, which would've been essential for the cutlets.

When there's spare ribs on the menu, it's a little hard for me to not order them, and so a portion of spare ribs was ordered. Straight away I'll say two things: the ribs tasted nice, but these weren't the most tender ones I've had, and nowhere close to the best I've had, not by a long shot. I just wish these were tender like the ones I've had at Xian.

And then something really sucky happened! We were ready to order our main course, and of course, we wanted to try the paella (pronounced pa - 'e - ya), and so when we placed our order, we were informed that the paella takes about 35-40 minutes to make. WTF! There was no mention of this on the menu anywhere, and the least they could've done is told us this all important piece of information at the time of take the order for the starters so that we could've placed the order for the main course well in advance. Damn! So the only other thing to do was to wait, and while doing that we ordered another starter, a prawn dish, batter fried and served with mayo. This one wasn't anything special, and given that I had it when people batter fry prawns, I couldn't care too much about this dish.

Finally after more than 45 minutes, the paella Valenciana arrived. Another bit of info for you the unsuspecting reader, is that the paellas mentioned on the menu along with the price is a portion for one person, but they don't serve it for one person, and the minimum quantity served is for two, so be prepared to shell out 2x the cost of the paella. In terms of presentation and taste, full marks. The dish is served in a paella itself (paella is actually a vessel in which the dish is actually made). Taste too, was quite good, with sufficient chunks of chicken and seafood tossed into it. I just wish we were informed about the delay in serving this so that we wouldn't have had to sit idle waiting for the food for over 45 minutes.

Desserts were a dull affair, although there was a little bit of comedy. I asked the waiter what the "cake of the day" was, and "Black forest, sir" came the reply. At which point, my cousin said "Oooh maaiiiii" and put his hands on his face, acting all happily shocked and excited that we were going to eat black forest pastry! :D Was quite a sight. My brother had an ice cream - 3 flavours ice cream.

Food: Overall, quite OK if you limit it to some of the tapas
$$$: Not too expensive as I'd previously thought. The above meal with 4 sangrias came to around 3,500. We were a group of 5.
Service: Decent
Verdict: Visit for some good Spanish tapas.
Extra info: Paella takes a minimum of 40 minutes to make, so plan and order accordingly. And it's served for two, so multiply the cost given on the menu by 2 for your calculations.

El Tablao, #612/1, 80 Feet Road, Near Sony World signal, 4th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore. Phone: 41410124

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