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Restaurant review - Las Ramblas Wine & Tapas, Warrington

PUBLISHED: 00:00 17 September 2015 | UPDATED: 09:40 20 April 2016

Las Ramblas Restaurant, Warrington.

Las Ramblas Restaurant, Warrington.

Archant

On a hot summer night a Spanish style tapas restaurant is the place to be. Ray King visited the recently opened Las Ramblas in Warrington town centre and enjoyed a taste of Andalusia

Tapas selectionTapas selection

They were queuing at the door at 7.30pm on a sweltering Tuesday evening and if that’s not a measure of popularity I don’t know what is. Las Ramblas, recently-launched sister restaurant to Warrington’s Grill on the Square, has definitely hit the ground running.

Las Ramblas Wine and Tapas to give the restaurant its full title, is set in the semi basement of the former council treasury - before that, Warrington Technical College - in Palmyra Square, the heart of the town’s burgeoning Cultural Quarter. The extent of the investment in converting an iconic late Victorian space into a slice of Andalusia is obvious from the moment you enter the bar and beyond that the subtly-lit, cool dining areas. High ceilings, stripped brick, solid dark wood furnishings and shuttered windows contribute to an authentic ambience as does the selection of favourite Spanish small plates.

The menu offers a list of cured meat and cheese charcuteria including hand-carved Iberico ham and Manchego cheese, an ‘oyster bar’ featuring Colchester oysters, ceviche of seabass and tuna tartare then both classic and contemporary tapas and finally a range of ‘scratch-made’ paella. We made our choice over ice-cold Estrella beers, cleverly served in frozen terracotta mugs - bliss after the heat of the day - and a portion of gigantic Gordal olives (£2.95) - surely the best in the world - with orange zest and oregano.

The tapas arrived when they were ready and in no particular order, firstly griddled harissa chilli chicken (£5.95) from the ‘contemporary’ list; spiked with Serrano pepper, chilli and garlic, the strips of breast were moist and full of flavour - a tip top start. Crispy calamari (£5.95), served with paprika salt and lemon aioli was sweet and tender beneath its crunchy batter and the octopus (£7.95), done the Galician way with thinly sliced new potatoes, was the dish of the night.

Spanish red prawns (£8.95), grilled whole with garlic butter and Iberico pork ribs (£6.95), cooked slowly with rosemary, quince and honey unleashed a wealth of warming, authentic Spanish flavours. We rounded off by sharing an excellent wedge of chocolate tart with fresh raspberries and cream (£3.95). Portions were decent and attractively served in traditional glazed earthenware dishes and despite the fact the restaurant was full, staff coped with efficiency and friendliness.

The wine list features a selection of popular Spanish wines and a choice from Old and New Worlds. Strangely perhaps, the only Spanish wines available by the glass were the house selections, while half a dozen from elsewhere were. Something to do with corks versus screw caps perhaps? And by the way, the ‘glass’ here is 250ml - a third of a bottle - so beware! We had a lovely aromatic Albarino from Galicia, perfect with that octopus, for a not unreasonable £21.95 w

Las Ramblas Wine & Tapas, The Treasury Basement, 1 Palmyra Square South, Warrington WA1 1BL; Tel: 01925 654199. www.lasramblaswineandtapas.co.uk

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