Review: La Tasca, Queen Square
‘Satisfying, Spanish, sangria fuelled dining experience.’
It was with much interest that I attended La Tasca Liverpool, in Queen’s Sqaure, having never eaten at one of their restaurants before. We were given a welcome that warmed us from the impending doom that is winter ‘up north’, by the staff and the lively Spanish style décor equally. The refurbishment of the venue means that there is as much for the eyes to feast on as there is for the stomach, without being overly garish or mundanely wooden. This made my dining partner (sounds fancy eh?) and me feel quite comfortable, yet still as if we were at a ‘proper restaurant’, a balance that we felt was quite important when attending chains such as La Tasca. One could attend for an occasion or just a catch up with a friend without feeling out of place on either visit.
On to the food and drink…
We started the evening with a couple of glasses of sangria, red and white. I didn’t even know that white sangria was a ‘thing’ and, whilst it was deliciously sweet, the classic red variety is irreplaceable.
For starters we ordered the Pan Con Selección, consisting of bread, baked in house, with a selection of dips including olive oil with sherry vinegar reduction, grated vine ripened tomatoes and alioli. A simple starter doing the job perfectly; the bread alone was gorgeous, even without the dips. Most dishes such as this have the option for being gluten-free which is a big plus for any restaurant trying to keep up with the times.
On to the main event, of course…ignore the puns.
We opted to share, with La Tasca having a wide variety of tapas conveniently sorted in to categories on the menu: Pescado (fish), Pollo (chicken), Carne (meat) and Verdura (vegie). With one of us eating mostly vegan, and the other leaning towards seafood on this evening, the selection was plentiful, despite not ordering any meat. We opted to share the gambas pil pil, deep fried white fish, broccoli, white bean and tomato stew, all of which were new to the menu. In fact, everything that we ate was from the new menu, all except the seafood and chicken paella. The menu said that they were ‘famous paellas’; we couldn’t go and not try one! This combination of tapas and a main to share was perfect for us, dipping in and trying a bit of each. The prawns were large and sumptuous; everything that gambas should be, the paella was the perfect blend of seafood and tomato, but the one that stole the show…the broccoli. I know what you’re thinking, but it was delicious. The grilled tender stem broccoli is tossed in garlic and salt and served with chillies, making it so simple but so moreish that we almost considered ordering another one.
It was a good job that we did not, as after all that, we were stuffed. I had been eying up the chocolate fondant cake, however we opted to share the new cheesecake. And, it was the perfect dessert after a big meal. Very light, very fluffy, full of flavour, yet satisfying. The icing on the cake, if you will, was the honey-roasted almonds scattered over it, they broke up the creamy tastes wonderfully, whilst adding a new texture to the dish.
As I said, we did the sharing thing, however if that’s not how you operate, there is plenty of choice. We caught mains such as the chorizo burger and the slow cooked pork cheeks going past us which looked just as good as what we had gone for. The paella’s are cooked for however many people want in; from 1 to, well, the menu doesn’t actually give a limit!
Our server for the evening, Mike, was attentive, polite and funny, not only helping us out with what to order, but with some superhero trivia that had been bugging us for most of the night. Now, we can’t promise that you’ll have him, but we can promise that the food is well worth a trip.
Taking in to consideration that La Tasca could run the risk of becoming ‘just another chain’, the Liverpool branch made for a more than pleasant evening, leaving our bellies and taste buds just as satisfied as we were with the evening as a whole.
I for one have been snobby about chains in the past, opting to go for independent eateries, however La Tasca won me over for sure.