With an old-world commitment to fresh, authentic ingredients, fine wines and knowledgeable staff, Omar Allibhoy's Tapas Revolution is a culinary oasis in the bustle of Westfield White City.
A simple and slightly odd set-up for a chic tapas restaurant, the venue is an oval shaped bar on the first balcony of the west London Westfield. The décor contrasts industrial elements with bright pots and pans, jars of colourful ingredients, decorative olive oil tins, strands of cured meats and chilli peppers.
Initially, the Westfield and its energy seem to loom in a kinetic haze and the seating feels rather exposed. However, once the dishes arrive and the drinks are poured, the crowds slip from mind with relative ease. The manager and staff are pleased to advise on the menu, while passionate footnotes about the quality and origin of the ingredients add charm and a sense of being in good hands. The bar set-up doesn’t seem conducive to large groups, but is well suited to couples and to small-group dining. Though early evening sees the seating area scantily filled, oce night begins to progress the bar fills with eager diners.
With one of the capital's top up-and-coming names as executive chef (and one who was trained by El Bulli's Ferran Adria), Tapas Revolution has already begun to make culinary waves with its simple tapas dishes that emply top quality ingredients. And those waves seem entirely justified, given that there's some very good cooking in evidence indeed.
The excellent, free-range iberico charcuteria (£4.95-£8.25) is moist without being greasy, thinly sliced, and extremely tender. Standouts from here include the jamon iberico de bellota de Guijuelo (acorn fed ham) with its nutty flavor and delicate texture, and the chorizo which has a delicious, lingering smokiness. Pan con tomate (2.95) is a nice complement to the meat; simple yet well executed, the bread is lightly toasted with a fresh tomato topping and just the right hint of garlic.
For seafood options, the octopus, pulpo a la Gallega (5.95), is good but not excellent. Though extremely tender, the flavor of the octopus is drowned out by too much paprika. Anchovies (boquerones) are a better choice; marinated in-house with arbequina olive oil and fresh herbs; the flesh is tender and enhanced by the light, sweet flavor of the oil.
The marinated beef skewers are a delicious selection as well, finished with coarse salt, cut small and bursting with flavor. A spiced dip adds kick, but the meat stands well on its own. Play spice roulette with fellow diners with the fried padron peppers; scattered amongst the mild, sweet kind the tongue-scorching variety lurks.
For dessert, churros served with warm chocolate is a dish to please all palates; a simple and satisfying end to a thoroughly impressive selection of tapas.
With the presentation of each tapas dish, the perfect excuse to sample a new drink arrives; the menu provides ample opportunity for smart pairings. Segura Viudas, a rosé Cavas, is fresh and soft with distinct berry notes, a lovely way to relax while awaiting the first course. To complement seafood selections, a 20 Albarino Rias Baixas is a light and dry white with hints of citrus. The Damana 5 Ribero Del Duero is a full bodied red suited to pair with red meat. A fantastic sherry for, or with, dessert is the Bodegas Hidalgo Oloroso Abocado Alameda (£3.75/75ml); rich and soft with a lasting finish.
The Last Word
Although you may not be looking to spend any more time in the Westfield if you can help it, Tapas Revolution will convince you to stay and unwind, and even draw you in to the madness with its fine wines, attentive staff and brilliantly authentic taste of Spain.