Salvador & Amanda

8 Great Newport Street, Covent Garden, London

Tapas with panto

Address:8 Great Newport Street
Covent Garden
Map:Map & nearby
Region:Covent Garden
Nearest Station:Leicester Square
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Opening Hours:
Mon:17:00 - 01:00
Tue:17:00 - 02:00
Wed:17:00 - 02:00
Thu:17:00 - 02:00
Fri:17:00 - 03:00
Sat:17:00 - 03:00
Salvador & Amanda, exterior picture

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"Tapas with panto"

Review Rating: 6 / 10
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The brown tiled flooring and rough walls suggest they’ve tried to go for rustic Spanish, but it’s so exaggerated the impression is more panto-like, which is fitting given the entertainment they have in store for us. It’s only after seeing the TV screens beaming looped footage of Salvador Dali that I realise this is who the name of the restaurant alludes to, along with his muse Amanda Lear. And there’s no escaping the theme later on; there is a tap-dancing Gala, a stripping Dali, a fire-eating Amanda, and a clown who does little other than mope around the tables holding a tray with a doll’s leg on it while you’re trying to munch on your tortilla. The mind boggles. In any case these shenanigans only take place on a Wednesday night, so you might want to avoid or pay a visit at your own peril.

Anyway, the tapas. The empanadillas are delicious mini pasties stuffed with tuna and a sweet tomato and onion paste. The octopus a la Gallega has been fried in plenty of oil judging by its greasiness, but the salt and paprika add flavour to the tender seafood, a solitary sliced potato on the bottom of the dish is a little unnecessary however. Rich croquettes are filled with smoky bacon lardons, other dishes of garlicky mushrooms and chorizo in white wine and garlic come and go - the latter could perhaps have benefited from cooking a bit longer as the meat is a little tough, and they had seemingly forgotten it so perhaps it was done in a hurry. There are some delicious, plump, (again) garlicky prawns, however there are only five of them sitting morosely in a large bowl, drowning in oil. A dish of two flavoursome lamb cutlets comes with a tasty spinach mash and cherry tomatoes, but there isn’t much meat on them. Better is the chorizo with a fried egg on top, the yolk of which is still runny, and its vegetarian version with peppers. Oh and then there’s the cheese platter, with the very sharp, soft blue La Peral, the goat’s milk Manchego, the mild-flavoured Tetilla (that’s nipple in English, as the whole cheese is shaped like a large breast) and the salty Mahon, along with membrillo and crackers.

During happy hour the sangria is only £10 a jug, however its usual £18 tag seems like extortion given that it’s practically just juice anyway. The tapas are around £5 - £7 each, so no more expensive than anywhere else and overall the food is tasty; unfortunately the surroundings seem more suited to a family day out than a sophisticated soirée, or even a quiet dinner.

Leila reviewed Salvador & Amanda on Tue 16 Aug 2011

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