Tapas Revolution

Westfield Shopping Centre, London, England, W12 7SL, United Kingdom

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Omar Allibhoy moved to London in 2005 after training at El Bulli, and built up El Pirata Tapas into a very capable tapas bar. He has now branched out on his own with Tapas revolution, a casual tapas bar in the unlikely setting of the vast Westfield shopping centre. You sit at bar stools (a capacity of 43 diners) while the retail experience unfolds around you. The various tapas dishes were mostly in the £3.50 to £6.95 range.

There was even a short wine list. El Muro Carinena £13.95 for a wine you can buy in a shop for £4.50 or so, Dinastia Vivanco Rioja Crianza 2007 was priced at £25 for a wine that costs £9 retail, while A20 Albarino Rias Baixas was £25 for a wine that will set you back around £11 in the shops. Some effort has been made to source ingredients e.g. the ham comes from Guijuelo, Salamanca, known for quality hams, from a small producer called Torreros.

Tortilla (£3.95) had reasonable texture, served with a punch garlic mayonnaise (11/20). Huevos rotas (£4.25) was a comforting blend of potato pieces, chorizo and garlic topped with an egg (11/20). There was also proper pata negra, a Gran Reserva bellota (£8.25) in this case, carved as I watched. A dish of patatas bravas (£3.50) was pleasant, the slightly spicy tomato sauce being fine, while the potatoes cooked just a little too long, but not mushy (11/20).

The hot dishes were prepared in a kitchen upstairs in the complex, with pre-prepared portions warmed up in an oven at the counter. This worked better for some dishes than others: seafood paella (£4.95) was not bad at all, the rice grains distinct having good texture, decent mussels and adequate squid (12/20) but prawns a la plancha (£5.95) were overcooked and slightly chewy (10/20) by the time they had made it through this two stage process. Of course this is fast food, and not produced with the care that you would find in a top tapas restaurant, but it is far from bad, and in an altogether different league from the food served at just about every other food outlet at this shopping centre. Decent food at Westfield? Now that is revolutionary.


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