I went for the first time a couple nights ago and was wowed. I was in Madrid earlier this year (just a few hours,but long enough to eat), Barcelona last summer (8 days), and lived there as well for a year when I was younger. I’ve eaten a lot of tapas. This may not all be “authentic,” but Shakewell’s got the flavors and spirit right.
I tried their version of a Gilda, the Basque Country’s most famous pintxo: a boquerone (fresh anchovy that’s been marinated in vinegar), guindilla pepper, and an olive. It was tasty but perhaps hadn’t marinated enough, as I found the guindilla a bit tough. This was the only flaw in the meal.
Three of us split the bacalau croquetas over squid ink aioli, patatas bravas, tempura cauli on a bed of romesco sauce, a salad of asparagus, boquerones and burrata with little buttery crouton bits and olives, and gambas al ajillo. One in our group doesn’t eat meat (only seafood).
My favorite was the bacalau - perfectly redolent of the sea and crispy and tender, as good as any I had in Portugal earlier this year. They look a little dark in the pic but they were perfect. Wonderful with the squid ink aioli, which was so good on its own we ordered some zatar flat bread to wipe it all up.
The patatas bravas were an excellent version - better than some I’ve had in Spain. There’s very little wrong I can find with fried cauliflower, and we found nothing. The salad was light and Spring-y but rich with the addition of the creamy burrata. The gambas came swimming in their garlicky,still bubbling oil, with some bread to sop it up with. The chubby shrimp were perfectly cooked.
We had cocktails (I didn’t love my Spring negroni as the flavors were a little muddled, but it wasn’t bad by any means) and shared a tasting of sherries. very nice.
I would like to go with a big group to taste everything on the menu, including the bombas (paella made with bomba rice).
Vale, vale, Jen Biesty!
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