Wednesday 8 August 2012

Campo Viejo Tapas trail 2012, Dublin

What a delightful way to spend an afternoon during this miserable Irish summer.

Luckily I bought the tickets before they sold out and didn’t know what to expect for 20 euros. I knew that we would visit 4 tapas places where we could taste 3 of their best tapas accompanied by a glass of Campo Viejo.

We started at the Market bar where Paul, our Campo Viejo host for the afternoon, greeted us with a glass of Cava. We had the nachos with salsa, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and jalapenos. I had those before and they are filling and great to share on a night out. The second tapa was a plate of deep fried calamari with a chili mayonnaise that I found light and golden. We also had a plate of patatas bravas (deep fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce & garlic mayo) that I found as authentic and tasty as many of the ones I had in Barcelona a month ago. Three tapas in, one glass of Cava and one glass of Campo Viejo, I was already full but looking forward to the rest.

We headed to Salamanca, stopping on the way to listen to Paul and his stories about Spanish and Irish connections. The first tapas was a deep fried tiger prawn, it was filled with red pepper and bacon bites which gave a nice texture and originality to the dish. Then, we had a spicy pork skewer served with a ham and manchego cheese croqueta.  Croquetas are one of my favorite tapas, if you go to Spain or one of the tapas places in Dublin, try the mushroom croquetas, they are strong in flavor but I find them delicious. The last tapas was quite a big portion, I was getting full at that stage but never the less could not resist a poached egg with fried chorizo topped with a creamy sauce. The staff were really nice and brought a colouring book and a lollipop to the little boy who was sitting at our table with his parents doing the Tapas trail.

Last savoury stop was Havana on Georges street. I like this place because there is always a good atmosphere and live music on at the weekend. The first dish was a pincho of black pudding with apricot sauce. The portion of black pudding was huge and the sweet/savoury combination worked pretty well. I really enjoyed the second tapas which was a filo pastry under the form of a spring roll filled with goat cheese and spinach accompanied by a fig sauce. My French pallet loved the pronounced taste of the goat cheese. Spinach and goat cheese go really well together. We finally had a fried gambas which was nicely spiced.

The trail was heading towards the end when the sunshine made an appearance. We ended our lovely day at Salamanca Fusion, the only place where I have never been before. A beautifully presented plate of 3 deserts was served with our fourth glass of Campo Viejo. The tapas of brie and manchego cheese served with an onion confit was a beautiful match. The raspberry malibu panacotta was light and refreshing. I ended with the crema catalan which is Catalan version of crème brulée. The Spanish man playing guitar in the background made us forget the lashing rain for one moment. It was already the end of a pleasant afternoon!

This event was a bargain considering it only cost 20 euros. The portions were big and they were perfectly accompanied by the wine. The host was a great story teller and made it run really well. I am sold on this original idea and already looking forward to next year for another tapas trail.

This is an independent review, I paid for my meal.