Though Grand Central in Birmingham has now been open for nearly a year, to me, at least, it still feels brand spanking new. I remember when it opened being very excited about the shops and how much nicer it is as a train station, however, the idea of the open, wall-less restaurants in the middle simply didn’t grab me – they seemed too much a part of the hustle and bustle of the shopping centre to ever be a place in which you could fully relax. When, however, I was invited down to try Tapas Revolution, I realised I hadn’t exactly given any of these central eateries a fair chance, and I was interested to see if my mind could be changed by Omar Allibhoy’s small chain, which now also has some new dishes on the menu.
When we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly server who showed us to our table and recommended some dishes to us. We visited after work and the place was buzzing, with a really laid back feel. Tapas Revolution is definitely quite a casual place to eat, with seating around the bar and a few commuters dining by themselves. We began by ordering some olives to nibble on and a jug of sangria, both of which were lovely, but if I were being incredibly picky I would point out that some nicer glasses might have lifted the feel of the drinks.
We ordered 6 tapas in total, three of which were brand new recipes on the menu. It was great to see that three out of five of the new dishes were vegetarian, as it seems previously there wasn’t a lot of choice. First up were a couple of the seafood tapas: gambas al aijillo – tiger prawns with garlic and chilli oil, and roasted cod loin slow cooked with red peppers and olives. Both of these dishes were very nice, the prawns were large and juicy and the cod had a beautiful texture.
Next up were a couple of the new dishes, gazpacho and a salad with roasted butternut squash, manchego cheese and a pine nut vinaigrette. The salad was a real winner, tasting summery and fresh and with a decent amount of butternut squash to add interest. The gazpacho was really refreshing and had a subtle underlying watermelon flavour that went really well with the tomato.
Our final two dishes were patatas bravas and another of the new options, empanadillas – spinach and goat’s cheese parcels with an onion and saffron marmalade. The patatas bravas could have done with being a little crispier, as they tasted almost like boiled potatoes, but the empanadillas were delicious. The marmalade served a similar purpose to caramlised onion in the more common combo, adding a sweet contrast to the sharp goat’s cheese. Let’s be real though, anything involving spinach, pastry and cheese is always going to go down well with me!
Though by this point you might have thought we’d be full, we decided to try a couple of desserts with a final drink. Jack went for churros, and these were a perfect version of the traditional Spanish dessert. I opted for the chocolate fondant, which was absolutely gorgeous. This pot of chocolately goodness was smooth and creamy, with a rich and indulgent flavour that really hit the spot. We were also pleased to see that Tapas Revolution do a selection of gin and tonic variations. Jack had a plum gin infused with berry tea, which was delicious, and I had the Nordes, flavoured with ginger and mint, which had one sad little mint leaf, but still tasted beautiful.
Overall, we really enjoyed our visit to Tapas Revolution. The tapas is reasonably priced and we really would have changed very little about the food and drinks that we ordered. I still think that the setting is better suited to a mid-shopping lunch with friends or a casual afterwork dinner rather than an evening out in itself, but it certainly serves the former purposes well and I would definitely come back for these reasons. Thank you to everyone at Tapas Revolution for having us!