Salvador and Amanda is a great fusion of tapas and cocktails set in laid-back yet elegant surroundings.
Set in the heart of Bloomsbury, Tottenham Court Road and Holborn stations are only a 10-minute walk away in either direction. It’s a hard place to miss, with a red neon sign above the double doors and flame torches welcoming you into a warm, vibrant atmosphere. The ground floor is where the party people are, either sitting on high chairs around tables or booths around the side. The décor is predominantly red and the furniture dark, which makes for an intimate affair. Wide stairs lead to the first floor where half of the space is for people drinking by the bar and half is for restaurant diners. The tables, which are big enough to fit a good spread of tapas - are to the far end of the room and here you feel a more rustic approach has been taken.
Friday nights seem to be quite busy, but not to the point of squashing frequenters into the corner. The venue has a buzz about it, which comes with the exhilaration of finding a new haunt. Customers are upbeat and friendly, as are the staff. Because of its location, the majority of the clientele are after work revellers looking to start the weekend with some cocktails.
Tapas can be really hit and miss but Salvador and Amanda comes up trumps, providing an authentic take on Spanish cuisine and offering more than just the standard tapas menu. The best dish by far is the rib-eye steak, which will set you back £13.50. It is succulent, seasoned and cooked to perfection. Cut in strips, it is easy to share and the green beans make a good side dish. Most of the tapas dishes are between £4-£8. The grilled chicken skewers are especially tasty, the only shame that there aren’t more of them. Pork ribs cost a bit more at £8.50 and while a little fatty, you get a good slab of meat on each rib and they are well cooked. The Spanish meatballs are a must-have, unconventionally mixing patatas bravas into the meatball sauce. These also come with their own spicy sauce, which has just the right amount of spice to give the potatoes a kick but not overpower them.
If you like chorizo then try the cured Iberian pork and smoked paprika sausage, which comes on a large wooden platter. Grilled vegetables are an excellent accompaniment if you find you are ordering mostly meat dishes. There are more interesting dishes on the menu if you don’t like to play it safe - potatoes and chorizo topped off with a fried egg, mini iberico pork sliders and applewood smoked monkfish with gooseberries, to name a few. Seafood also makes up a large chunk of the menu - fried squid, prawn, crab and scallops are all on offer around the £7 mark.
If you are drinking, the cocktails must be sampled as they are not just your average ‘Sex On The Beach’ selection. There are a range of Martinis - saffron, Seville orange and brandy - the most expensive priced at £11.50. The Mango and Rosemary Mojito is delicious and goes down very well. Garnished with a long slice of mango, it's positively good for you, especially if you have more than one! Caipirinhas can be made to suit your palate, sweet or sour. The Latin Mule is also a good choice, as is the Sonoran Sunset. All cocktails are £9 or less and are excellent value for money, as well as fooling you into thinking you are drinking in a bar in Spain.
The Last Word
This bar may not be original, but the fusion of tapas and cocktails is certainly done well at Salvador and Amanda. Take your friends after work - they won’t be disappointed.