“ Address: 27 Gray Street / Broughty Ferry / Dundee / DD5 2BH „
February was always going to be a busy month. Engagement parties, valentines day, MOT's, birthdays, moving people house and the Chinese new year (which everyone celebrates, obviously) all in one month. Thankfully there was a little bit of free time at the start of the month that we promptly decided to fill with a night out. Myself, my partner Allan and his cousin Vicky had all been to a Tapas Restaurant in Broughty Ferry previously which failed to live up to our expectations so we decided that the next time we went out, we'd go to the other Tapas Restaurant and see if they couldn't kick the ass off of that experience.
===Tip tap whatty?===
If you haven't seen my previous reviews or have never been to a Tapas restaurant then you might be wondering what the heck Tapas actually is. Basically it's what happens when someone listens to all those people who say "Oh my god, I could make a meal out of just starters". Tapas is basically lots of tiny portions of lots of different foods served as a meal. Different places will have different things and different amounts of food, but generally it's seen as a much more social way to eat as you are all sharing the foods and discussing and tasting and trying all at the same time. There's much less silence in a Tapas bar as no one is really concentrating on getting through a meal, they are enjoying the food and the company. Now you know!
The aforementioned "other Tapas restaurant" just so happened to be The Ferry Inn Tapas Bar situated on 27 Gray Street in Broughty Ferry: a little seaside town on the edge of Dundee famous for the Ice cream shop and Posh people. At least that's what it's famous for in my head, it's probably got a lot more history than that. Parking wise, it's a bit of a nightmare during the day especially if it's sunny as there is a beach and a play park in Broughty Ferry that everyone flocks to. At night it's a lot easier to find a parking space nearby. It's even easier if you partners cousin lives literally across the street from it.
The Ferry Inn itself is a smallish pub which I always assumed was full of old men when actually it looks like a fairly young persons hang out. It's quite nicely decked out inside in a kind of clean but traditional fashion. That's by the by, however, as The Tapas Bar is up the stairs to the left of the entrance door. The staircase is about big enough for one person at a time and goes up to the second floor. There is no lift. The first quite obvious thing you'll need to know is that if you are a wheelchair user or have difficulty with stairs, unfortunately this place will be a little difficult for you to navigate.
Looking past that issue, the staircase is decked out in a lovely red carpet with white walls. Artwork up the walls starts getting you into a Sophisticated Spanish mood before you even get into the restaurant. Black chandeliers hanging from the ceiling complete the look. When you push the door at the top of the staircase, you come out into the restaurant area. The restaurant is quite cosy, with a smaller than expected capacity. As such it really is a good idea to book a table in advance as you'd probably be unlikely to get one if you just walked in off the street. Vicky's friend has attempted to do that a couple of times and has been turned away as they were full.
The restaurant is quite attractive. The tables are all black with a red silhouette of a bull set into them. It's quite snazzy really. Matching red napkins give the tables a bit more colour. To the right when you enter is the bar which looks to be incredibly well stocked with spirits. A beautiful sight to see for someone who enjoys a drink or four. The décor is warm and inviting and the wall to the far left is mirrored, making the whole place feel more spacious. Not only does the restaurant look good, the staff are bloody gorgeous too. Nothing better than having a bunch of hotties on hand to feed you!
===Meet and Greet===
With us on our little jaunt to The Tapas Bar were Vicky's friends Kirsty and Kirsty. Apparently having friends with different names is just too difficult for her to remember. As such they will henceforth be referred to by their extremely Dundonianised surnames: Broon and Flembo. Soon as we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by a very friendly gentleman called Phil. He took our coats for us and showed us to our seats which just so happened to be right next to the bar. The seats were wooden with a decent back on them. There was padding, however, I didn't actually realise that till I looked at the pictures I took of the place so i thought that my backside was fatter than I realised.
Soon as Phil had taken our coats, he came back to explain how the place worked. He checked if there was anything we didn't like, any dietary requirements, allergies or foods that would turn us green. The only thing our table disagreed on was the fish dishes, so rather than scrap them all together, he counted who wanted what so we could all get a bit of the stuff we liked. At that point, in true Spanish style, we ordered a couple of jugs of Sangria to share. Ooft yes. By this point we had already had some brilliant banter with Phil and were all quite ready to plant our faces into some tapas. And some waiters. Mostly the tapas...waiters.
===Ladies in waiting===
Rather than keep us foodless while we waited for the first serving, we were brought a dish of olives and a half coconut shell full of nuts and seeds. Perfect for getting our appetite started. I had to refrain from tipping the coconut shells out and using them as breasts. Sorry but that's what half coconut shells are FOR. Yes, I know, I'm a child. While we nibbled we noticed that there was a very strange item on the bar behind us. In a special holder sat a pig's leg. Parts had been cut away to reveal the meat. Certainly a bit of a talking point, maybe not everyone's cup of tea having it set in full view. Personally, I thought it was quite an interesting thing to have decorating the place. Phil had overheard us talking about it and asked if we'd like to try some. He explained that it wasn't just a normal pig's leg. It was special magic pig's leg that had been cured in a mountain and covered in honey for three years. He was fantastically enthusiastic about it and got us all quite interested in trying some. He got one of the kitchen staff to start delicately carving off a few strips to go with the first sitting of tapas for us.
Once we had nibbled away at the olives Phil brought out the first "course" explaining what everything was as he set it down and giving us the names of stuff and any interesting facts about the food. It was really nice to see someone so knowledgeable about the food and so utterly excited by it all. It was just gravy that, like the rest of the staff, he was hot. Yes indeed.
===Err... what did we just eat?===
The menu at The Tapas Bar isn't written down anywhere. I even asked near the end of the meal if it was. The staff simply have to know what the chef is cooking and I would imagine that would leave room for the menu to change slightly depending on what's available. As such I don't have a clue what any of the food we ate was called. The lovely Phil did tell us as he served but it was very quickly forgotten in the excitement of food and alcohol. I'll do my best to describe the dishes but I'm not a chef so don't expect any fancy names!
The largest thing in the first round was the basket of bread. Slices from a baguette were surrounded by pats of butter. There was a small jug of extra virgin olive oil and some dishes with garlic Aioli (or garlic mayo) and not areola as Broon so fantastically spewed forth. Nipple sauce probably wouldn't go well with garlic. Or anything else for that matter. To accompany the bread, there were six other little dishes.
===Number of the devil===
My favourite of the six was a dish that was basically a bit of cheese, half a grape and some other ingredient that I can't recall wrapped in some sort of ham. We each got one each and they were delicious. The sharp flavour of the cheese rolled around with the flavour of the ham and grape and made my mouth go into a state of oral ecstasy. I could eat a whole plate full of them.
Next was a plate of stuffed chilli peppers, both short red ones and long green ones. I think it was just a soft cheese that they were stuffed with that oozed out when I crunched into the chillis. Thankfully they were quite mild so I didn't end up burning my mouth. There was one chilli for each of us.
Next on the list was what became known as "that rice dude". It had a fairly strong ham flavour to it and had some green peppercorns in with it too. It was nice, but not quite my favourite. We had a teaspoon or two each. Flembo and Vicky seemed to enjoy it more than I did.
Two of the dishes I don't have a clue what they were, but they were good. One was an orange colour and looked a little bit like tikka masala (but it wasn't). It consisted mainly of veg I think and was full of flavour. I really enjoyed it. I just wish I knew what it was. The other dish was quite similar with some nice flavours; this one swayed into the "Green" coloured camp. It was perfectly tasty. We each scooped up a couple of teaspoons worth of these dishes.
Lastly there was sweetcorn and peas in a sort of minty olive oil dressing. It was edible, but I think most of us weren't too fond of the minty flavour to it. We would have each gotten a couple of teaspoons if we had wanted it, but this one, rather heartbreakingly was left by the wayside and remained unfinished. Everyone say "Aww"
Also brought out with the main course was the strips of the magical honey smothered, mountain living piggy. We got two slices each. Phil returned and gave us a small dish of almonds to go with them and explained it was best to eat them after you've eaten the ham. He was right. It was delicious. He gracefully played with our jokes about strips of pork and a bowl of nuts while we all pigged out.
Having munched our way through the first set of dishes brought out, our table was promptly cleared and round two began. We waited possibly two minutes so it's safe to say the service was well up to scratch even though by this point the place was full.
The largest dish of this round was basically kebabs. Onion, mushroom, pepper, chicken, Spanish black pudding balls and chorizo all skewered neatly on steel skewers presented on a lovely wooden serving plate with a couple of sprigs of rosemary. While the mushroom and the onion had a very mild flavour, the dish really came to life when you hit the peppers, chicken, chorizo and black pudding. Allan didn't enjoy everything on the skewer since he doesn't really like mushrooms or black pudding. Everyone else, however, scoffed the lot. Broon delicately finished off Allan's leftover black pudding balls. Other than Broon, we got one skewer each. Phil had put the crappers up me and Flembo by telling us that the peppers they used are usually sweet and mild but that every one in twenty or so has a bit of a kick to it. I played Russian roulette with my mouth a lot more willingly than Flembo did but luckily no one got a hot one.
Next was the Patatas something or other-as. A similar dish to one we had in the previous tapas place we visited, but much better. It was basically roasted potatoes with spicy chorizo tossed through them. There was a healthy helping of them but I avoided them. They were very tasty but the chorizo was a little too spicy for my weak mouth and I didn't want to fill up on potato when everything else looked so delicious. Everyone else devoured them though.
===Thighs and Balls and Spears, oh my===
The next eye catching dish was a plate of chicken thighs (enough for one each). They were perfectly cooked and the meat fell off the bone. I thought they were delicious. Allan, being squeamish of anything on the bone passed on his. I started feeling a bit full by the time I got to the thighs, but I soldiered on through to the Spanish omelettes; just big enough to pop in your mouth. They came with a little bit of mayo on top and this generally makes me quite happy. One each of these and we all loved them.
Next I popped some meatballs on my plate and munched through. The pork was nice and juicy and not at all tough and they came in a lovely tomato based sauce. We got two balls each which was nice as the last place we went gave us an odd number of meatballs. Thumbs up all round for this dish.
Next came a dish that I was curious about, not only because of the story Phil had told us about someone forgetting to remove the cocktail stick before eating them and choking on it. I'd never actually tried asparagus till now. I had always assumed it would be disgusting. It probably helped that it had been roasted while wrapped in a slice of ham. It was absolutely delicious. Another one that I would have happily eaten more of. We received one spear each and everyone thought they were great.
Now, I despise fish and seafood of all kinds. It's just a thing. It stinks. I figure it might save me from the pits of hell if I stick to at least one biblical rule and don't eat shellfish (or any other type of seafood for that matter!) Flembo was in league with me on that one too. Apparently our eating habits are quite similar. Broon and Vicky cracked into the skewered prawns they received and done whatever it is one does with prawns. The prawn shells were left lying around for far too long for my liking (more than a minute) so Broon began teasing me with their empty and grotesque shell. I plan to terrorise her for life in return. They loved them though so yay for that. Allan joined them for the fish which Phil described as similar to Hake. I wouldn't have a clue if that's a good thing, but the other three enjoyed it a lot. I have to admit, it did actually look really nice on the plate with a little bit of lemon next to it.
Not only did I get my just desserts when I was caught ogling another waiter by Phil (which he thought was hilarious, though I have to point out Allan was ogling too, he just didn't get caught!) we also got offered a large list of desserts!
I went for a raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake which was gorgeously light and creamy. You could really taste the white chocolate and the raspberry wasn't overpowering. It was garnished with one raspberry that was a little too sour for my liking, and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream that was perfect. Overall it was a winner.
Not content with just one cheesecake, I also took a bash at Broon's Mint Aero cheesecake and almost died of happiness. It tasted just like you would expect it to. Sweet minty goodness. I wasn't completely terrible and I did offer up a bit of my cheesecake too. Broon scoffed the lot rather contentedly. Also on offer to stea...er... sample... was the red velvet fudge cake. Allan and Flembo both opted for this and both thought it was absolutely delicious. I rather stupidly tried Allan's with the same spoon I had the mint cheesecake on. I had missed a bit and the mint overpowered the fudge cake so I don't have a clue what it tasted like myself. Oops!
We didn't try any other desserts but they were all around the four to five pound mark. The chef obviously makes the desserts themselves as Phil came back out after we'd ordered to say that the chef had just informed him more desserts were ready to be served (including a mars bar cheesecake that I almost changed my mind to have). It all sounded fantastic and has a range that everyone should like. If they can't find something then they can entertain themselves with a napkin that smells like prawns (I'm looking at you Broon).
===Just keep drinking===
The Sangria was possibly the most delicious stuff I've tasted in a long time being lovely and sweet with not too much of a kick in the face. I couldn't quite tell how strong it was and I didn't seem to be tipsy even after four glasses so I'm assuming it was quite weak in regards to alcohol content but then it may have just been that I was eating enough to soak up the warm drunk feelings I was filling myself with. Each jug served four glasses and cost £14.99 each which equates to about £3.74 a glass so I do hope it had a decent amount of booze in it Dessert, rather unfortunately, also tainted the sangria a little. Much in the same way that I tell people who get coffee and cake in Starbucks to make sure you drink your coffee before you eat the cake so that it doesn't taste awful, I'd advise you finish your sangria (if you choose to get it) before you scoff your dessert so you can actually enjoy it. We didn't order any other drinks (other than a couple of cokes) so I can't comment too much on the prices of the other drinks.
Loos are usually something that I will quite quickly knock a star right off for if they aren't up to scratch. As I have already mentioned, the tapas bar is up the stairs from the pub area. The toilets are back down the stairs and through the bar. As such they aren't so much the restaurants toilets than the bars. The girl's toilets were fine according to Broon. The men's toilets, while clean, were a bit cramped and only had one cubicle. The floor was wet and the urinals were uncomfortably close together. Neither myself nor Allan could bring ourselves to use them and since the one cubicle was occupied we decided just to wait till we got back to Vicky's (since she lives across the road). Normally I'd whack a star off for that... but, to be honest, the Tapas bar is so good, that I'm willing to forgive the toilets being a bit uncomfortable. Who knew that could happen?!
I have mentioned throughout that the staff were great. They were all busy all the time, being friendly with customers and serving. The service was lightning fast but not to the point where they were snatching plates out from under you. A perfectly paced evening. Throw in that Phil (who I think is the owner) is so enthusiastic about the food and has a great sense of humour and our night was made really special. Need I say again that they were all gorgeous looking? Because they were! I can't help being a bit of a pervert! We even got a very firm handshake and encouraged to write a review on trip advisor as we left. I don't think I've ever had a handshake when leaving a restaurant. How awesome is that?!
For five people we paid £160 which was £32 each. That included 5 meals, 5 desserts, 3 jugs of sangria 2 cokes and a 10% tip. That, to me, for a good night out with the level of service we received, the quality of the food and the fact we all came away nicely stuffed, is absolutely brilliant. Due to the lack of a menu I had worried slightly that we'd be hit with a massive bill at the end, but we were nicely surprised instead. Great stuff.
Utterly fantastic. A great little place to go with amazing service, helpful staff, decent prices and brilliant food. The toilets are a little under-par and if you are disabled you may have issues with getting up the stairs. If that isn't an issue for you then I would definitely recommend the place. I know we'll all be quite happy to go back. Five stars out of five. If you wish to get in touch and make a booking the contact details are as follows:
27 Gray Street