“ Address: La Tasca, The Brewery, Romford, RM1 1AU / Tel: 01708 734662 „
On New Year's Eve my husband and I had decided we would like to see the New Year in, at home. We have a very busy few weeks coming up with two of our grown up children celebrating birthdays on 5th January-one being twenty -one, and a theatre visit as a birthday treat, plus chauffeuring our seventeen year old to college auditions. We felt exhausted just thinking of all the important dates in the year ahead. This made us believe an evening at home with champagne would be fine. We did however, feel it would be nice to have a very late lunch/early dinner whilst out at Romford first. We had bought a few items for the birthday celebrations, and so when that had been completed we had a look around Romford's Brewery entertainment centre before deciding where to go.
My husband suggested we try La Tasca, a Spanish chain of tapas bars. We had thought about eating here before but never got around to it.
The Romford La Tasca is set in a decent spot on the first floor of this complex. It is near to the Myvue cinema and the bowling alley. There are other food outlets nearby. This level can be reached both by lifts and escalators from the downstairs shopping area and the car park. There is also ample car parking on this level. It is easily accessible to both able bodied and those with mobility problems. It is very close (about five minutes) to Romford train station. As there are shopping centres close and a large hospital it is in a central location and a useful for shoppers, hospital visitors, and cinema goers wanting sustenance.
From the outside we had always thought this restaurant appeared inviting and authentically Spanish. So with the decision made we entered the restaurant. It was quite empty; this being late for lunch but too early for most diners celebrating New Year with a meal. There were only two or three other tables occupied.
We were shown to a table by a waiter and asked if we wanted garlic bread and olives while we perused the menu. We agreed we would, although my husband isn't keen on olives so I did my best to get our money's worth! A waitress soon brought our ordered glass of wine and a pint of San Miguel lager to our table. I found the wine pleasant enough for a house wine, although it cost enough for one glass (£4.75). I thopught thr bottled water at £3.80 for a 750ml size a touch cheeky, to say the least!
The waitress was a charming Spanish looking young lady. I asked if she was from Spain and she replied that she was from Gibraltar. As we had been to Gibraltar we chatted a little.
I fancied a vegetable paella but this, as is usually the case in Spain too, is only made for a minimum of two. As my husband didn't want a vegetable paella and I don't eat meat we had to forego this dish. The waitress advised us on the tapas dishes; what they consisted of and how many we would probably want etc.
When we had decided on our choice of dishes, the waitress returned. I tried to pronounce the dishes as I had been taught years ago in school and put into practice on visits to Spain. I remembered how to pronounce Valenciana, tortilla and I think I said, 'patatas pobre' as if I were a Spanish Senora! Enrique Iglesias would have been impressed.
The dishes came up quickly. I do think we should have been seated at a larger table because although it was a table for two the tapas dishes take up a lot of space, and there were tables to spare. I think staffs were probably trying to keep diners to a corner so they could keep table ready for the evening. We should have said straight away that a larger table would be preferable. They seemed accommodating enough.
We ordered two paella tapas dishes-a vegetable paella and a Valenciana Chicken; a Spanish omelette, a potato dish, and mushroom croquettes. With the cheesy garlic bread, olives and drinks the bill came to £37.05.
Now we both liked the ambience of this place. We have holidayed twice in Spain's Costa del Sol and this place was reminiscent of restaurants we had eaten in. Spanish music played in the background at a perfect volume which didn't interfere with conversation but added to the atmosphere. This was made even better when Enrique could be heard. The bar area was attractive with its brightly coloured tiles. The dark wood of the tables and chairs was pleasantly Spanish in style. The service was friendly and quick, although this was a very quiet time. But I've got to say we were disappointed with the food.
We both agreed that the food was all rather bland. For food that was cooked with peppers, onions, herbs and garlics it wasn't very tasty at all. My husband said it reminded him of a hotels average buffet selection. There was however, a good choice for non-meat eaters; plenty of fish dishes, a good choice of salads, and for true vegetarians some interesting vegetable dishes so one doesn't feel left out. I did notice the menu stated that the restaurant did not have a dedicated vegetarian area so that could put off some strict vegetarians, perhaps. Some dishes are gluten free but again, there isn't a dedicated kitchen area for preparation of gluten free food.
We didn't find it expensive but then we didn't really enjoy the food. I think I would give this place another try as I think had we gone at a busier time and there were more of us then we could have tried the freshly made paella and, if ordering tapas selections I would go for different dishes.
I feel this is a nice relaxing place to go for couples or groups, families with children would be welcomed. There is a children's menu available. I would enjoy an evening or a lunch spent here with friends if we were more interested in having a drink and a chat while picking at some food, rather than a filling and tasty meal. It might be interesting and fun to go to La Tasca in Romford on a Monday evening when there are salsa lessons.
I was impressed with the choice of Spanish wines and other drinks both alcoholic and soft. As well as wines, beers and spirits as expected in a tapas bar sangria is available. I was surprised at the range of sangrias on offer. I think there were around ten variations.
I didn't inspect the toilets here. I was going to but was informed that they were upstairs and I couldn't be bothered. I was offered the use of the downstairs disabled lavatory.
For further information on La Tasca dining see the website www.latasca.co.uk or specifically for the Romford restaurant see www.latascaromford.co.uk
There are various meals and deals available best viewed on the website.
The Brewery, Romford, RM1 1AU
Tel: 01708 734662
* Monday - Thursday : 11:30 - 23:30
* Friday - Saturday : 11:30 - Midnight
* Sunday : 11:30 - 22:30
* Baby Changing Car Parking
* Disabled Toilet
* Function Area
* Function Room
* Outside Area
* Private Hire Available
* Tea & Coffee Facilities
* Although the food wasn't the best we had consumed we were glad we had tried this tapas bar, if for nothing else than that it transported us from a cold English January to a taste of Espana.
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