To the yummy world of Spain and back
By Sonali Shenoy - CHENNAI
23rd October 2012 10:11 AM
It’s always fun to fill up on the starters at a restaurant. They’re bite-sized, often arrive alongside the most delicious dips and you can never get too full for just one more. So picture this foodie’s delight when a food review opportunity came along for a new menu of ‘just starters’. Zara, The Tapas Bar & Restaurant on RK Salai, already has quite a reputation for their tapas (Spanish snacks served with drinks at a bar). Possibly, one of the earliest in the city to introduce Chennai to the appetising world of tapas, the options available jut got bumped up to the next level.
As one can imagine, when you get close to 600 tapas orders on a single weekend night, the fun is also in the variety to experiment with. Their eye grabbing table mat of tapas offerings boasts of everything from Chicken in White Wine to Fried Calamari and Cheese Stuffed Chilli Peppers. In fact, looking closer at the new menu, it’s surprising to note that the vegetarian options outnumber the chicken dishes by a large margin. Says Chef Aji Joseph, “We had a lot of customers requesting more veggie options, and also options for the eggetarian.” He adds, “So now we’ve got a separate just focusing on egg-inspired tapas.”
There’s the classic Spanish omelette and a Tenderloin and Egg Bake which are definitely a try. But the most intriguing looking of them all is the Mini Ratatouille with a Bull’s Eye on top. Baked vegetables served in a delicious tangy mix with oozing goodness from a free flowing yolk. Yum is the word!
With substantial quantities to fill up a hungry stomach and maybe leave just enough room for dinner, the Zara tapas experience is certainly worth you’re money spent. In fact, with over 60 tapas dishes on their present menu – one can even attempt a full blown tapas meal – one tapas course after the next. From the Pincho (usually a spiked or skewered tapas option) range, the Tuna and Olives topping on toasty pop-in-the-mouth bread is a must-have. And from the meaty section, do not miss Chef Aji’s innovately created Bacon wrapped Honey Mustard Chicken. Finally, rinse off the any saltiness lingering with a fresh burst of crunch and sweetness – the Watermelon, Lettuce and Cheese Salad. Now who would have thought those three would have made a flattering combination?
If you’re up to a main course and dessert after all of this, don’t worry it’s just an order away. However, personally the next this reporter decided to visit, the tapas experiments will continue. After all, it’s to Spain and back with a couple of mugs of beer for company. Seriously, does it get any better?
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