La Tas-can

Today I’m reviewing La Tasca, four doors down from my last restaurant review. Serving spanish style tapas on Deansgate, Manchester.

This strip of restaurants and bars really is wonderful; all in one place makes it the perfect destination for dinner and drinks, but sadly this does mean a high amount of competition and pressure for the restaurants to get people through the doors.

I picked La Tasca due to the great reviews and the wonderful discounts offered (broke student over here!), and I was not disappointed. The ambience of the building is great, the huge bar with soooo much alcohol, the exposed brick wall, and romantic candle lighting, all of this made for a great start to the evening.
Rory and I came to La Tasca on a Friday evening at 7:30pm, if I’m honest I thought the place would be heaving; it’s prime time on a Friday. The restaurant is huge, but still only around 5 tables were in, which is always a worry, but we ordered our drinks with a lovely Spanish lady (didn’t catch her name); with cocktails at £6.95, can’t go wrong.

I ordered a Sex on the Beach, a classic simple cocktail, and Rory ordered a Long Island Ice Tea; I think someone was trying to get drunk. The drinks themselves were delicious, clearly full of alcohol and tasted great, but sadly the glass the long island ice tea was served in was a Pepsi glass. I never really realised how important nice glasses are when presenting cocktails. A simple change could really help the appearance and class up a pretty simple drink.
I’m the kind of organised freak who checks a menu and basically picks my whole meal out before I turn up, and then spends 10 minutes deciding what to order once I arrive (just in case I missed something), before ordering my original choice anyway! Oh yes, I’m that annoying haha. I think Spanish is my favourite cuisine, I love being able to pick loads of small dishes, it means you never get bored of the same flavour as there is always a new one coming next. Rory thankfully likes everything; meaning I pretty much get free reign on choosing dishes (no complaints here).

Not in the Spanish style of bringing everything when it’s ready, we chose to have everything come together (this is rare to be asked which we prefer, and I liked it!). I like to combine flavours as I eat, and try things with other things, such as prawns with patatas bravas. I also like to admire the vast amount of food on the table before I devour it.

After ordering we also requested a large jug of Sangria. They have loads of different styles and twists on Sangria which if I go back I would definitely try, but this time we went for a classic Sangria and it was lovely.

On to the food…
If Gambas Pil Pil is on a menu, you can bet a lot of money I will order it. Delicious king prawns cooked in garlic and chilli, and these prawns really were delicious. It could have done with a little bit more heat (chilli heat), but that’s my preference on spicy food. These went perfectly with the triple cooked Patatas Bravas (large of course). The spicy sun-dried tomato sauce the potatoes were in was divine, very rich and, when paired with the roasted garlic mayonnaise, was a perfect creamy, spicy combo! I would have liked for extra mayo on the side, but this was heavenly!
I have a new favourite to the Spanish cuisine (yes, beating the king prawns!), a random choice and not something I’ve ever gone for before, Croquetas de Pollo. These are hand made chicken croquettes. I only added them as filler, but they turned out to be the best dish by a long shot. Creamy on the inside and crunchy on the out, I could have eaten an entire plateful of them! I would go again purely for these croquettes, you have to try them!

Next on the menu we picked the Brochetta de Pollo, due to it being labelled a “signature dish”, this is simply a large chicken skewer with pepper and onion marinated in a sticky, spicy glaze. It was nice, but it didn’t have the wow factor I was hoping for. It felt like something that you a relatively competent chef could make at home.

Tabla De Montadito, great carb filler! We went large on this one, and it was a good choice. 3 pieces of sourdough each, all topped with various things. The best one in my opinion was the pulled pork. Now I am not a massive pork fan, I don’t really like pig at all. My sister Claire had a house party recently and her boyfriend Mike and his best mate both cooked this delicious pulled pork, and being drunk I ate it, and turns out, I absolutely love it! La Tasca’s pulled pork was no different, a delicious addition to our tapas menu. The prawns and jamon were also nice, a little bit soggy on the bread but I think that’s the time I left them sitting for (so much choice). Sadly I don’t like mushrooms, I did try the sauce but it was not to my tasting. Rory however can vouch for there deliciousness!
Lastly we ordered the Buey a La Tasca. This is a 4oz chargrilled 21-day aged Scottish steak, which was served with blue cheese gratin and cherry tomato confit. I have never had steak on a tapas menu, and I am not a huge blue cheese fan but this really was scrumptious! The steak was delicious, and the blue cheese gratin was so creamy and light, I was expecting a strong flavour of blue cheese but it was just enough to give it a tang but not too over powering. I would however say that the one tomato at the end of the board in my opinion doesn’t class as “cherry tomato confit”.

I had a really enjoyable time at La Tasca, great food, wonderful company, and plenty of drinks; I really don’t know why the place was so quiet.  As previously mentioned, La Tasca offer loads of promotions, both on their website, and their app. They also take gourmet society, and have a Groupon currently. We were spoilt for choice on discounts, but we went with the Gourmet Society 25% total bill, which meant in total after the discount all the food and drinks was less than £50! Definite money saver! If you want great food, at a low price, in a great area, look no further than La Tasca, I would definitely recommend to a friend. The only thing missing from the menu was halloumi; I do love halloumi, especially served with sweet chilli jam. Mmmm….cheesy.

NB. The restaurant is also right next to the Botanist, which may be my new favourite cocktail bar, but more on that another time.

If you enjoyed this post or have an experience you wish to share, please leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.

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