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Made my first visit to Iberian Way in Douglas Street recently, expecting some small one-bite tapas. It didn’t happen. Just wonder why, in Ireland, virtually every tapas provider, either Irish or Spanish, doesn't serve the one-bite tapas you get in Spanish bars, though Feed Your Senses in Washington Street did have a few on the menu last time I called.
Anyway, back to Iberian Way, a restaurant cum deli that is contributing to a new lease of life for the old Cork street. The Tapas here are served on plates or platters or in bowls and are generally meant for sharing (some are designated two units, four units etc). There is a choice of 17 on our menu, including some well-known ones eg. Patatas Bravos, Croquetas, CalaMARi.
We order four, starting with the IBERAGUS: green asparagus in olive oil with slices of ham and grated cheese. A good start with the warm asparagus blending in well, especially with the cheese. Thumps up there.
I like honey and I like Aubergines so I thought I was on a good thing when I ordered Aubergines with honey. The vegetable was deep fried and well drizzled with honey, a bit too sweet for me. Maybe one round would have been enough but we got about five each. Overall, they are pretty generous here!
Aubergine and lots of honey
We passed on the Mini BURGERS, the TACO, and the FLAMENCObergine (they do play a lot with capitals here!) and the BrOkEn EGGS. But we would have eggs with our CoJoNuDaS, toasted slices of bread with black-pudding and quail eggs. Very tasty indeed.
Our final plate yielded six CROQUETAS, creamy and crusty bites of béchamel, three with cheese, three with ham. Deep fried and pretty filling, pretty flavoursome too in fairness. Each of our four dishes cost eight euro, a fair price indeed.
Would we finish on a sweet note? Yes, we would. There is a short list including a homemade soft cheese with coulis, chocolate brownie with white chocolate soup, and a selection of cured cheeses.
We picked the Coulant of Turrón, the “chef’s signature”, described as Almond Nougat with hazelnut pralineé and spiced corn ice-cream (€6.00). It came in a huge bowl, packed with delicious flavours and textures’ it was a true delight for the sweet tooth, an outstanding finalé indeed.
By then, our wine has vanished. The wine list, comes in a ring binder, and looks bigger than it actually is. But you do have a good choice of reasonably priced wines and all the information you need to make a choice.
Quite a few available by the glass (mostly about 6.50). CL enjoyed her Castelo de Medina Verdejo, fresh and persistent (just like her husband!), while my happy pick was the excellent and refreshing Abadía do Seixo Albarino.
It is a cold night in the city but we are snug inside 27 Washington Street with some warming Spanish food. And downing a glass or two of Juan Gil’s red wine (Monastrell grape) from Jumilla, not normally available by the glass (€6.50). Pleasant and easy drinking, it is one of this evening’s Chef Recommendations (Specials) at Feed Your Senses (or Alimenta Tus Sentidos) a Spanish Tapas restaurant that has been operating here since early 2015.
It is a small place, so we booked. In out of the cold, we had a table by the window as we studied the specials and the full menu, lots of small and bigger tapas. There are various little “bites” and salads but we were seeking warm stuff and went straight to that section.
Spuds and two sauces
Two dishes came together - we were sharing all through. The Delicias Alicantinas were Fried Dates (with the stone removed and replaced by an Almond “heart" and wrapped in bacon (€5.00). A little piece of Alicante heaven, they promised, and it certainly was.
The other special was Patatas Bravas Two Sauces (€8.00). The sauces were hot brava and alioli and they made it a delicious plateful. Later, I was wondering why we Irish, long-time spud lovers, haven’t taken this dish on board in our homes and restaurants.
The Croquetas de Jamón were next up. These Ham croquettes, “our Queen tapa”, “soft and creamy”, were served with home-made Escalivada (8.00). They were indeed soft and creamy, with added flavour from the little crunchy bits of ham. The sauce is of roasted vegetables, somewhat similar to ratatouille.
As we were tucking into the croquettes, the Homemade Meatballs, or Albondigas to give them their proper name, arrived. These Spanish meatballs, are made with Irish beef and pork, onion, garlic, etc., and served with home-made tomato sauce and hand-cut chips. (10.50). A lovely warm dish for the night that was in it.
And this time we had room for dessert or at least for the small one we noticed on the recommendations for the day: Strawberry and Crema Catalana (3.00). A vasito of creamy deliciousness each, under a crispy topping, to send us on our way.
The Spanish products do of course come from Spain but the restaurant relies heavily on local producers and number the Alternative Bread Company, Ballycotton Seafood, Kay O’Connell, the Chicken Inn, Hassett’s Bakery among their suppliers in the English Market.