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Taste-bud delight at Tapas & Chill 

PAGE 37 TASTE BUD

 

If ever there was an apt name to describe the ethos of a restaurant, it’s Tapas & Chill at Golf del Sur.

Tapas and a chill-out atmosphere is exactly what it provides and it’s a formula which has become very, very popular with local people and visitors alike.

By the time we had finished our review on a balmy Friday evening, there were four parties waiting for a table as the restaurant had steadily filled up from the moment we arrived. Fortunately, Tapas & Chill is in the same ownership as the Volare cabaret lounge next door so if you haven’t booked or arrive early, you can just pop in there for a predinner drink (and go back afterwards for the entertain-ment!)

It was a great pleasure to return to Tapas & Chill which we last reviewed well over a year ago and were enchanted by the unusual dishes served. The idea is to enjoy tapas as you should, that is a succession of dishes either served on a phased basis or altogether if you wish.

There, however, is where the homage to your traditional tapas ends. Peruse the menu and there is not a dish of anchovies or a slice of tortilla in sight. Instead you get mouth-watering offerings such as “Prawns sautéed in Sambucca” (8.50 euros), “Pork in Creamy Port Sauce” (6.50 euros) and “Caribbean Chicken Skewer” (8.50 euros) among the 20 others.

When we last visited, Dutch chef Art had been in the kitchen, drawing on all his expertise of Michelin star restaurants in Holland. Since then, Art has moved on and owner Gary is at the helm. After working with Art for 18 months, he knows all the dishes inside and out and adores being able to pursue his passion for cooking. Most of the menu remains the same but it has given Gary an opportunity to experiment and you will find at least two specials on the chalkboard to tempt you.

For us, they did just that. We loved the sound of “Meatballs in a slightly spicy creamy curry” (6.50 euros) and the “Flakes of salmon, white and smoked fish potato cake with a chilli mint dip” (5.50 euros) so ordered one of each.

Throughout the evening, we were well looked after by Lynda who explained that couples usually have four to five dishes between them so they can share and get a variety of tastes.

I rarely have fish so we also opted for “Fillet of Hake” (5.90 euros) which comes breaded with garlic and onion served with a tartar sauce, accompanied by chips (three euros) and the house potatoes which are divine. These are panfried “skin on” potatoes with mild mustard, tomato sauce and garlic mayo, topped with cheese and grilled (4.90 euros). A simple dish but very popular.

We loved all our food and were so engrossed in eating and chatting that it wasn’t until we looked up to get another spoonful that we realised it had all gone! Now that’s testament to its taste.

All the sauces in the dishes were very memorable, including the honey mustard on the “Caribbean Chicken Skewer” which was marina-ted chicken served with pineapple and red and green peppers. We particularly liked the meatballs in the curry sauce, a combination which really works.

The beauty of Tapas & Chill is that if you fancy another dish when you think you have finished, no problem. The temptation is to eat your way through the menu but we decided to leave the likes of “Sirloin with Garlic” (7.90 euros), “Filled Pepper” (5.90 euros), “Canarian-style Stew” (5.90 euros) and “Fried Calamares” (4.90 euros) to another evening. After all, Tapas & Chill is open seven nights a week from 6pm.

Other delights on the menu include garlic and herb bread, the chef’s home-made dips and huge salads.

It was obvious from the customers coming in that many had been here before and had their favourites on the menu. Others, including a German couple, were trying the tapas concept for the first time and appeared to be intrigued and delighted.

On seeing a young couple take a table with two little children, we asked Lynda how youngsters got on with the dishes and she explained there was always something for them, such as meatballs, chips, spicy wedges and chicken goujons. However, she said we would be surprised at just how adventurous children could be as they liked to have a taste of what their parents were eating which got them used to different types of food. Even the deep-fried squid rings won them over.

All evening I had been looking at the dessert blackboard offering “secret endings” so we couldn’t resist a slice of chocolate fudge cake and lemon torte. These are the only things brought in but Gary does make his own sweets from time to time and you will also find these under specials when available.

As you would expect, there is a good selection of wines, by the glass or bottle, to help with the chillfactor.

Tapas & Chill isn’t a big restaurant but it is very attractive with contemporary decor and low lighting at night. It doesn’t have outside space but benefits from air conditioning. It’s also non-smoking, of course, but you can go next door to the Volare terrace.

So, how do you find Tapas & Chill? If you are driving through Golf del Sur, you need to go past the Winter Gardens bowling green on your right, then take the next turning right and double back on yourself. Look out for the Apartamentos Aquamarine Golf on the left (opposite Best Buys super-market) and there is a sloping pathway down to the sea next to it. Walk down here and Tapas & Chill is on the right. There is a car-park nearby or you can drive further down and use the larger car-park near the Aquamarine Hotel and walk down.

You should note that Tapas & Chill is only a minute from the sea-front and the harbour where there is a pretty pathway to stroll along to get some bracing air or walk off some pounds afterwards.

As mentioned before, if you can, phone the restaurant in advance to book your table (922 738 855/619 909 417) although this isn’t always necessary.