“ Address: Unit 6 The Boardwalk / Lakeside Shopping Centre / Thurrock / RM20 2ZP „
La Tasca is a chain of Spanish Restaurants throughout the UK, to be fair it is nowhere near as good as a decent Spanish restaurant, but it does supply a variety of tapas dishes at very good value (Especially in Central London).
We have recently been eating at La Tasca quite regularly as there are a number of fantastic offers on, the one we have been enjoying is 50% off the entire food bill for a meal, this has proved really good value as it means we have been able to try so many options on the menu and only pay half of the full price.
The decor in a La Tasca restaurant is quite faux Spanish, it has a lot of wooden handles and things with pictures and old style tables and chairs, we have eaten at the venue at Lakeside shopping centre and it revels in its original stylings. It is located on the popular Boardwalk area where most of the restaurants are and is very busy, rightly so in view of the prices and food on offer.
We have found that the staff were really good, coming straight over to offer drinks and then bring over bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, this is a really nice start to a meal and allows people to fill themselves up slightly meaning they don't have to fill themselves up too much.
I had a pint of San Miguel which was reasonably priced at around £3 and my partner had a glass of Red wine which was also good value. We were given a reasonable amount of time before ordering starters if we wanted them, although the way food is managed at this place, if your eating tapas its better having everything coming together.
On my most recent visit we had Paella Valenciana which came to £15 for two of us with the 50% discount, it was massive and a lovely sharing meal, filled with rich rice, seafood and chicken, I have to say it was utterly delicious and while it took 45 minutes, this is made clear on the menu.
Another good thing about the menu is they do mark up special options for vegetarians and coeliacs which is very thoughtful, the Tapas menu is pretty good with a wide variety of choices and most dishes come to around £3-£5 meaning you could have at least 10 dishes for £25 with the 50% discount which is amazing value.
I like La Tasca as it has a chilled out decadence and there is never a pressure from staff to hurry you, if your enjoying your meal they'll ask if you want more drinks or sharing food and not the bill which is a really nice change from some of the other venues on the Boardwalk.
I would recommend this chain of restaurants, it lacks the finesse and real attention to detail of some of the finer Spanish restaurants in London but it really does a great job at bringing Spanish food to the lower budget masses.
La Tasca Lakeside is situated on the relatively new Boardwalk development of restaurants.
It is a Spanish themed restaurant with an authentic Spanish menu with lots of different tapas and paella and of course Sangria.
The lighting is quite low and an atmosphere of warmth is created with the vibrant Spanish decor. The tables are all wooden and have candles on each to add to the ambience.
When we went we had been shopping for the afternoon so we had worked up quite an appetite.
The waitress explained that we should have 3 or 4 tapas each if we were hungry or recommended that we try one of the set menus which have a selection of their most popular dishes for you to try.
We decided to start with some bread, oil and vinegar while we choosing and i have to say i wasn't overly impressed - the bread was simply dried up french bread that had been cut to order but the bread had obviously been sat out all day. The vinegar they give you isn't very good quality and i can't say the olive oil is either - and true Spaniard would probably be quite embarassed.
To drink i had a sangria which was tasty with lots of fruit and my girlfriend has a freshly squeezed orange juice which she said was delicious and very refreshing. We had to wait about fifteen minutes for our drinks which was a bit annoying as the restaurant was dead except for us and another couple.
For our main we decided to choose a selection of tapas and for me there was quite a lot of choice even though i'm a fussy eater. We tried chorizo with red wine and garlic, serrano ham, potatoes bravas, tomato with goats cheese, meatballs in tomato sauce, chicken breast on skewers, and Spanish style omelette. The chorizo was the nicest part and definitely my favourite.
Serrano ham is serrano ham - not much more to say about that, the potatoes bravas were good and i'd recommend them, the meatballs were flavourless, the skewers - well it was A skewer and for over £4 we weren't impressed and the Spanish omelette was dry and tasteless.
As each dish is around £5 each they're not really worth it as the portions are very small. We were really hungry but by the time our food arrived after about forty minutes and half of it was cold we couldn't be bothered to complain we just wanted to eat and go but the whole thing was very average and i wouldn't say there was much Spanish about it - other than the slow service.
It certainly isn't anything like tapas you can get in Spain.
La Tasca has been a place I always wanted to visit as I love tapas and meze style food, where you pick from lots of different dishes. I love to have variety especially when eating out. So we decided on one sunny weekend to go out for lunch to La Tasca at Lakeside.
La Tasca started its humble beginnings in Manchester City Centre in 1993. La Tasca is now present in 70 locations within the United Kingdom.
The Boardwalk is a mini complex of restaurants, bars and a cinema attached to the Lakeside Shopping complex. Despite being purpose built each restaurant I have been in has its own identity and doesn't seem purpose built. La Tasca was no different. Entering the restaurant just after 1pm, on a Saturday, it was quite busy, but not too packed. We were escorted to a table at the back and were presented with menus and a drinks list. Looking around the room was adorned with Spanish pictures, paintings, murals and it made it look authentic for its Essex home.
Our waitress Angi was Spanish and really nice. She recommended wine and food to us and told us what the best way to approach tapas. 3-4 dishes per person, spread across the meat, vegetable and carbohydrate groups, like you would have in a normal meal. We could see all the other staff running around and looking after their customers. We could see the kitchen from our seats, there was no Ramsey style shouting, it was all very calm and controlled and food was coming out at a regular pace.
~Food & Drinks~
We ordered a beer (San Miguel) and a large glass of wine which was house white and Spanish. We were there for lunch, so decided to only order 5 dishes between us plus bread and olives. The bread was standard baguette, nothing special or Spanish about it. The olives were - it seemed from a can. This was fine, but a couple were really soft, which wasn't pleasant.
Mixed Fish - We ordered this as we both love fish. This came with Calamari rings, battered tuna, battered whitebait and a lovely lemon mayonnaise. For £4.95, this was quite a lot as the amount of fish on the plate didn't seem to be as much as the price.
Chorizo - Spanish sausage cooked in a red wine sauce. Absolutely delicious, enough sausage for the price of approx £4.25
Patatas Bravas - Squares of fried potato in a spicy tomato sauce. This was nice, but I have had better, more crisp in the potato and more spice in the sauce would have been great. A regular bowl of these was £3.25.
Lamb Casserole - Approx £4.25 this had a couple of nice bits of lamb in it that melted in the mouth and were lovely and soft. The sauce was meaty and rich and it was also topped with small fried potatoes.
Meat Paella - This is a smaller tapas version of Paella, this lacked meat, only had a couple of bits in it, but the rice was nice. Approx £4.25
All in all was really excellent.
The total bill came to £38.05, which included a large glass of wine (£5.50) and 2 Pints of beer (2x £3.25) So not too bad. This filled us up for the day and we did not have dinner that night, so an excellent filler meal.
The other options available at the moment are 'Lunch for 2 £10' From a selected number of dishes you can choose 5 dishes for £10, add a bottle of wine for £10, add bread and olives for £1, which is an excellent deal.
On the website www.latasca.co.uk you can get 50% off the food bill when you join their club (until the 15th March), for Mothers Day, children eat free. The website is a colourful place where their latest offers are displayed. Each menu for each restaurant is available on their website, including a drinks, dessert and food menu, complete with prices, so you can pre plan if you are on a budget.
I would definitely visit there again, it was a lovely location, the staff were excellent, and the food was lovely. I would probably go again when there was some sort of offer on, or take advantage the deals they run to make it cheaper.
Spanish Tapas Restaurant and Bar