“ Nationwide Spanish restaurant chain „
When Surrey Heath Borough Council decided to go ahead with the redevelopment of Park Street and the surface level car park behind it, there was a certain amount of interest regarding the facilities that it would provide. Camberley is currently dominated by The Mall, itself an 80s redevelopment of old streets and shops in the centre of the town. It is almost exclusively a shopping experience, with just one cafe overlooking the central area and a new Love Coffee terrace at one end.
The Atrium, so named for the large open area at its heart, is a combined commercial and housing development, opened in 2008. It is unusual in that, unlike The Mall, there are no inside shops, only eating establishments, plus a bowling alley and a multi-screen cinema. All the shops are in the outside walls of the development, facing onto Southern Road and onto Park Street, which has now been pedestrianised.
In all there are seven different restaurants on the ground floor, plus two on the first floor where the cinema is located. With nine different restaurants and nine different styles to choose from it's a wonder they all survive but, survive they seem to do, so far. There's even a Wagamama though they have only just opened, initially seeming like they didn't relish the competition!
Bar Estilo was amongst the first to open and is designed in typical Spanish Tapas Bar style although tapas is not it's only offering. The design reminds me very much of one we frequented a couple of years ago when we visited Granada, with its mezzanine gallery overlooking the ground floor bar area. The colours are all typical Mediterranean earth tones and wood is very much to the fore.
We've mostly eaten at Bar Estilo at lunchtimes when we've been shopping in town and have invariably chosen a selection of tapas to share, along with a carafe of their house wine. They have an extensive menu including all the usual favourites such as Nachos with Black Bean Chilli, Chorizo with Cannellini Beans, Pork & Beef Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce and Hot Smoked Paprika Chicken. We've tried all of these and more and never been disappointed.
Prices are reasonable at generally less than a fiver a dish and we normally choose around four to share, which is quite enough for a lunchtime snack. They also offer a Lunchtime Special (not Bank Holidays) of two tapas from a reduced list for just under £6. Certainly we find this list to provide a decent selection even if it doesn't contain all that Bar Estilo has to offer.
If you do want something more substantial then there is a main menu with various offerings from around £8 (for Baked Enchilada) up to £17 for Jalapeno Steak, with various chicken and fish dishes in between. There are also the inevitable Paellas to share or to hog.
Service here has always been friendly and attentive. Strangely, when we have been in, mostly weekday lunchtimes, the place hasn't been exactly heaving, which I don't really understand. Agreed, with competition from such as Bella Italia and Nandos on its doorstep and Pizza Express just outside, maybe Spanish food is not what Camberley's residents most crave? Still, we're not complaining: a nice quiet break is far more to our liking.
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