Tapas and Wines from Castilla-León with Qué Rico Tapas and Cambridge Wine Merchants, Cherry Hinton Rd – Cambridge (UK)

I’ve been following the events of Qué Rico Tapas for quite a while so I was delighted when I got my ticket to the latest tapas and wine tasting at Cambridge Wine Merchants. Estefanía Led Ramos of Qué Rico Tapas is a talented, self-taught cook full of originality and passion. This collaboration of matching regional dishes with Spanish wines from Castilla-León brought out Estefanía’s wonderful creativity.

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The event, held in Cambridge Wine Merchants’ cosy wine bar at the back of the Cherry Hinton shop, featured five tapas and five wines. To kick things off, Estefanía addressed the group and ran through the menu. It all sounded so delicious! I couldn’t wait to see what the dishes would actually look like, based on her description of ingredients and flavours.

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The wine tasting was led by Cambridge Wine Merchant’s wine expert Alice Archer. She took us through the tasting notes of each wine with a brief explanation of the wine producing areas. She even gave us a map of Spain to show us where Castilla-León is located. The talk was light-hearted and informative. We weren’t bogged down with excessive details and had the opportunity to talk amongst ourselves between tastings.

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Camino – King’s Cross, London (UK)

Amid the new restaurants cropping up all over the King’s Cross area, Camino has remained steady and true. It’s a chain, but one that has maintained high standards and quality despite its multiple locations. There are currently four restaurants in London (King’s Cross, Bankside, Monument and Blackfriars) plus two bars (Copa de Cava specialises in cava and Bar Pepito in sherry). In fact, Bar Pepito is adjacent to Camino, both tucked away in Varnishers Yard in The Regent Quarter, a short walking distance from King’s Cross and St Pancras stations. Unless you are “in the know”, you could be forgiven for overlooking it. Its charming location in a hidden courtyard feels like a world away from bustling London.

Camino Exterior

Camino sign

Camino’s interior is all brick and wood, with stunning circular roof lights letting in the sun’s rays. The place is well laid out with a sweeping bar and tables that are close together but don’t encroach on personal space. Lively music enhances the cosy ambience but doesn’t overpower it. Service is welcoming and friendly.

Camino Outside

Camino’s focus is on authentic tapas from all over Spain with a slight bias to the north as Executive Chef Nacho del Campo hails from the Basque country, widely recognised as the gastronomic heartland. Call them tapas or pintxos… either way they are supremely delicious. The menu features all of the better-known favourites such as patatas bravas, tortillas and croquetas but there are some other fantastic dishes for the more adventurous. All of the tapas go extremely well with Camino’s impressive drinks list featuring the best in wine, beer, cider, brandy, sherry and cava from Spain as well as gin (both Spanish and British) and cocktails with a Spanish twist.
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Mee and I – Cambridge (UK)

Those of you who loved Dojo as much as I did will be pleased to learn that they made good on their promise to relocate after they were forced to close to make room for postgraduate accommodations on Cambridge’s Mill Lane. This promise comes in the form of Mee and I, located in Castle Hill, and whilst it’s not another Dojo, their former staff and head chef are part of the Mee and I team.

Mee and I Cambridge

The menu isn’t exactly the same as Dojo’s but it’s still extensive. It includes a large selection of sharing plates / starters, bao (Taiwanese steamed buns with a choice of three fillings), salad, rice, noodles (wok tossed or in soups) and curries. Also, the place is way bigger than Dojo was and there is even another floor where the space can be hired out for celebrations and large gatherings.

Mee and I Collage

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Casa Del Mar – Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (UK)

UPDATE: This restaurant is under new ownership.

Casa Del Mar is a delightful Mediterranean restaurant located in the centre of Bury St Edmunds. Once known as Café Del Mar, the name change reflects the fact that it’s more than just a café, and rightly so. The menu includes an impressive selection of dishes, including Spanish, Greek, Italian and Moroccan. Owned by the vivacious and talented Maria Broadbent, Casa Del Mar’s ambience is cosy and inviting with friendly and attentive service throughout.

Collage Casa Del Mar

We went to Bury St Edmunds to see a concert at The Apex and were looking for a place to eat nearby that could accommodate the four of us for an early dinner, as the show started at 7:30pm on the dot. The thought of having to resort to a boring chain restaurant wasn’t too appealing so a quick tweet revealed Casa Del Mar as a recommendation. Our friends Peter and Jenni had just returned from a trip to Italy so they were thrilled with the choice, plus it was only a 5-minute walk to the venue. Perfect.

Mixed Olives

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Lunya – Liverpool (UK)

Lunya may be located amid Liverpool ONE’s many eateries but make no mistake… this independent deli, bar and restaurant truly stands out. Located in a converted 18th century warehouse, the premises are beautiful yet functional, with outside seating, bar area and restaurant upstairs. The deli boasts a mind-boggling selection of delights!

Collage Deli

Paulo and I had popped into the deli on an earlier trip and were so impressed, we made a point of making dinner plans at Lunya the next time we were in Liverpool. A few weeks ago, we had this opportunity. We had to skip lunch due to travel and work, so we had an early dinner, just after 5pm. Staff were very welcoming and friendly and showed us to a nice table in the bar area. As we were early, we didn’t sit upstairs in the restaurant but our table was right by the window, with lots of sunlight.

Collage Lunya

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Salt House Tapas – Liverpool (UK)

I have been struggling to find decent tapas for quite some time so when I found out I was going to Liverpool I knew I just had to go to Salt House Tapas as I had heard great things about the food. I had no idea what to expect but the imposing listed building which houses the restaurant made a good first impression.

Salt House Tapas

Salt House Tapas in Liverpool

I never had tapas in Spain and don’t really know what traditional tapas are supposed to be like, if there is even such a definition. However, the emphasis at Salt House Tapas is delicious, expertly prepared food with fresh ingredients. They certainly delivered!

The restaurant’s layout and close tables lend a wonderful convivial atmosphere.

The eating of tapas is very much a social activity. These are little plates that are meant to be shared and enjoyed together.

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