Friday, September 21, 2007

La Tasca

Thurs 20 Sept 2007

Despite our recent visit to Rebato's in London, for some reason tapas does not feature often on the menu at Eating Leeds. Leeds does not seem overrun with tapas bars: I've wanted to go to Viva Cuba on Kirkstall Road for ages but despite the opening of a city centre venue I still haven't managed to do so. I do, relatively often, enjoy the tapas at Sandinista. Other than that, in the city centre you appear to be limited to two venues just off Park Row: La Tasca and La Viña. These restaurants are actually both owned by the La Tasca group ...

We headed off to La Tasca, tempted by the tapas for a tenner deal. There are various conditions attached to this deal, but, mid-week, it seems that if you are seated by 7pm, each diner can order as much tapas as desired for £10 a head. You are limited to ordering 3 dishes at a time but you can (and probably will) top that up subsequently. This was all explained in the friendly and efficient manner which seems to characterise the service at La Tasca.

San Miguels in hand, we sat down to inspect the menu. I was excited to spot pollo al ajillo (chicken and garlic) as it had been such a stand out dish at Rebato's. To go with this we ordered calamares Andaluza (battered squid, with garlic mayonnaise), albóndigas (meatballs), croquetas de paella y chorizo (paella croquettes with chorizo), patatas bravas (potatoes in a tomato sauce), and the tortilla. And some bread.

Andy rated the patatas bravas more highly than those at Rebato's, although not as highly as home made. The sauce on the meatballs we both enjoyed, although we found the texture of the meatballs themselves to be rather more paste like than meatball like. The squid was quite bland and a bit tough, the tortilla was nowhere near as tasty as that at Rebato's (or, indeed, a home made one). Andy was very enthusiastic about the croquetas whereas I wasn't sure. And the pollo al ajillo? A disappointment - the chicken was dry (but not crispy, like the fried chicken at Rebato's) and the thick sauce (rather than just garlic and oil) had an overwhelming taste of quite bitter tarragon.

We opted for three more dishes after this: the fritura mixta de pescado (mixed seafood), a selection of Spanish meats and paella Valenciana (with chicken and seafood). The cold meats were good but the other two dishes were disappointing. The paella was gluggy and held together in an almost tough manner and the mixed seafood was a sad collection of overly fried bits and pieces: a prawn, some tiny chunks of tuna, some whitebait, some more calamari.

Food and 3 beers was just under £30 - but when you consider that Rebato's was under £45 for four people (and the food was better) was it really such a cheap meal? I don't think so. At full price we would have spent a good £10+ more.

La Tasca didn't really excite us: tapas can get expensive quickly and the quality of the food at La Tasca wasn't really up to scratch. It makes me wonder what La Viña is like ... In the interim, for tapas we're going to stick to recommending Sandinista (me) and Viva Cuba (Andy).

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1. La Tasca, 4 Russell Street, Leeds, LS1 5PT, phone: 0113 244 2205
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Viva Cuba is superb - you are missing out by not going!!

3:13 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

It is definitely on my list! Too many people say it's good and it's on my way home from work so I've got no excuse really!

8:39 pm  
Blogger Ros said...

I agree about the price and quality of the tapas at La Tasca. I'm a real sucker for their sangria though.

8:39 am  
Blogger Alex said...

Couldn't indulge in the sangria on a school night!

12:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you re: quality of food and prices at La Tasca. I have friends who rave about what good value the meals are there but I'd much rather walk out £5 lighter feeling I'd had a good quality meal!

9:52 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

I think that tapas, like so many other 'simple' things, can be done well or really badly ... and I suspect it's something that doesn't respond well to the 'chain' treatment!

11:35 am  

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