16 April 2014

La Mancha, Chiswick. Reviewed.

Come close.
Closer.
Closer still.

Much as I loved Spain, I've never been very sure about their infamous Tapas. Usually, especially when searching in London the label of Tapas is normally an excuse to charge loads of money for teeny tiny portions of very bland food. Not so at this sliver of Spanish sunshine on Chiswick High Street.

To dream the impossible dream, To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow, To run where the brave dare not go

  
The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha is a Spanish novel about an aging nobleman named Don Quixote becoming obsessed with stories of ancient rivalry and being a brave knight. He transforms his servant, Sancho Panza, into a trusty squire and off they go. Whilst  proceeding to fight invisible rivals, puppets, and windmills, he also imagines that he sets out to rescue the lady of his dreams, named Dulcinea.
Aceitunas Mixtas (V) Marinated large olives with herbs  
In Barcelona we had delicious pinchos; (literally pinchos translates to "thorn" or "spike"). Expensive, but well worth the novelty and feeling of travel. They were a great example of small taste explosion and the best tapas that we had tried, to date.
To right the unrightable wrong, To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary, To reach the unreachable star


Tabla Castellana; Serrano ham, chorizo, salsichon, Manchego cheese

Disclaimer: We were invited guests of La Mancha, but my (many) opinions are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I wouldn't happily visit, and revisit on my own dime.
This is my quest, to follow that star, No matter how hopeless, no matter how far
To be willing to give when there's no more to give, To be willing to die so that honour and justice may live


 Pimientos De Padron (V) Sweet hot peppers from Galicia, sautéed in olive oil
  
Thankfully, the team at La Mancha in Chiswick aren't tilting at windmills. (Oh yes, I just went there in a restaurant review, mashing up classic literary references.)
 
Calamares Fritos Quick fried squids with tartar sauce

If I were you? Go to Chiswick, take a good group of friends (in my case the lovely Sarah accompanied me, and better company I couldn't wish for), order a few plates of Berejenas Fritas, Crispy aubergines with honey and romesco sauce perfect to start you off, with a few glasses of vino from their excellent selection and a lot of laughter. In fact I would be tempted to just sit at the bar and order these all night. But then that's not really a balanced diet now is it?


Berejenas Fritas ( V ) Crispy aubergines with honey and Romesco sauce
Then I would order the deliciously piquant Pimientos De Padron, Sweet hot peppers from Galicia, sautéed in olive oil; beautifully light & light Tortilla Espanola, Spanish omelette (potatoes, onions, eggs); the surprisingly delicious Croquetas es Spinacas, Spinach croquettes with a hint of pinenuts, and something meaty to round out the tapas feast before you.

Tortilla Espanola ( V ) Spanish omelette (potatoes, onions, eggs)

We loved the variety of dishes we tried, including a lovely seafood paella and hearty portion of roasted suckling pig, by which point we had all eaten so much our stomachs were beginning to groan. 
I'm so indecisive (I often order two starters rather than a main) so a tableau of tapas is the perfect vehicle for sharing nicking many tasty titbits.
And I know if I'll only be true to this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I'm laid to my rest
TARTA DE SANTIAGO A traditional Santiago de Compostela almond cake, Amaretto, vanilla ice cream

True to the cause, we ended our evening properly with their heavenly almond cake with vanilla cream, the crowning glory of our meal. It was an almost a polenta style cake, punctuated with a caramel syrup, followed with a heavenly dessert wine.
 
And the world will be better for this, That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage, To reach the unreachable star.

The restaurant owner and staff are proud of their selections, and actually go out of their way to advise that the portions are fairly large, and unlike most tapas places where it's sell, sell, sell, they tell restaurant goers it's best to only order around 5 tapas for 2 people, or 1-2 tapas per person and a paella as main course.

The décor has a Don Quixote theme running proudly through it, is fresh, bold and fun. Glass of beautiful wine in hand, paella cooking and the sun shining over Chiswick High Street, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you were on the streets of Barcelona.
I plan to happily adopt La Mancha as my London corner of Spanish sunshine (sadly now it is closed). 

24 comments :

  1. Oh. My. Gosh.

    Tapas is seriously one of my favourite types of food. I need to check this place out; I need a Spanish food fix after reading this :)

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    1. Me too - Tweet up? Lol - any excuse!

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  2. I totally agree how most "spanish" places serve tapas as an excuse to charge a lot for very little food. I am a volume eater, so that annoys me haha. This all looks amazing though :)

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    1. The flavours were simply mouthwatering.

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  3. The food and the decor looks amazing. I love tapas but agree that its hard to find decent Spanish food in London. This place looks like it is worth me trekking the other end of London for.

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  4. I love tapas, and pimientos de padron is one of my favourite dishes, especially if they are coated in flaky salt.... yum! x

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    1. We'd never tried them before - what an amazing flavour!

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  5. I adore tapas. I am reading more and more good reviews of restaurants in Chiswick

    I love Padron peppers, I lost count of how many bags I bought last year from Waitrose.

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    1. There are some fantastic places opening up, go South London!

      Oooooooooooh, I never knew you can get them at Waitrose.

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  6. Oh my! The tarta de santiago is one of our favourites desserts from Spain! Calamares a la romana, tortilla de patata, pimiento padron....mouth watering delicious! Love the Don Quixote theme!

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    1. We loved our gastronic exploration...it was like travelling to Spain without the airport security.

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  7. I love tapas and I seriously would love a bite of the almond cake with my cup of chai at the moment.

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    1. They would be a match made in heaven.

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  8. Tapas is the best thing ever. I order two starters instead of a main a lot too! and get picked on for it. Everyone jokes about how I ordered two dinners, jerks.

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  9. I love the concept of tapas, like mezze - lots of things to try and not being envious of whatever it is that someone else has ordered ;-)

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    1. One of the few times you can 'share' other people's dinners for a taste!

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  10. Adore Spanish food and my husband works in Chiswick so we'll be sure to pay this place a visit. Craving calamari now!

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    1. You comment brought my calamari cravings back :D

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  11. I've been to La Mancha in Putney (not sure if it is still there) but not to this one. I love tapas though so I'll remember about it next time I'm that way!

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    1. I think it's a sister branch - I'd highly recommend it.

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  12. Lovely review and the food looks great, i wonder if they cater for vegetarians.

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  13. Hehe, i see what you mean. Nicely written, and it turns out that i actually know that song after all. All that glorious food, so lucky!

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