Last rated: 10/12/2014
La Tasca’s formula has been honed over two decades of serving Spanish tapas in a lively and colourful setting to the nation - and now also to the USA. The pan-Iberian menu selection is consistent across the group and includes everyone’s favourites; it may not be particularly adventurous but it is accessible, well-priced and based on authentic ingredients.
San Miguel features both on the beer list and in the form of batter for deep-fried King prawns and white fish, and Pedro Ximenez in the slow-cooked pork cheeks (£5.25): both feature in an excellent drinks list. Dishes which have taken on a national character include patatas bravas with alioli (£2.95) and spicy chicken wings, but it is refreshing to see a menu that also pays homage to regional tradition. For example, from Galicia there are empanadas filled with beef, beans and peppers; chorizo and baby back ribs from Leon; Riojan-style mushrooms (£3.95); and Andalucian style crispy squid (£4.60).
Larger plates include griddled Iberico pork or chicken marinated in lemon and basil, as well as paella (priced per person from £8.95 to £12.55). And the Spanish white anchovies, served as Boquerones en Vinagre, make a visit worthwhile almost singlehandedly. Slightly ironically there is a selection of ‘nibbles’, original tapas (in the historical sense) such as Manchego cheese with rustica tomatoes and Padron peppers. There are some tempting desserts from crema Catalana to Malaga-style rum and raisin ice cream (£2.95).
The chain is family-friendly offering a selection of mini tapas such as mini burgers, meatballs and fish fingers, and it’s worth noting that at selected locations you can have an excellent Spanish breakfast that might include tortilla (£3.85), Majorcan ensaimada pastry or - best of all - Spanish churros, doughnuts dusted with sugar and cinnamon served with a rich chocolate fondue sauce.