Review: Tapa, Leith, Edinburgh

YOU COULD BE forgiven for not knowing that Tapa exists given it’s tucked away on Shore Place, just out of sight of the strip of bars and restaurants that reside here, and that would be a real pity. This independently owned tapas (how did you guess?) bar has been a firm favourite of mine since accidentally discovering it following the closure of Iggs and Bar Rioja a couple of years back.  A welcome sort of accident.

The interior of this converted warehouse features high ceilings and James Bond posters and its intimate lighting really lends to the dining experience.  It’s spacious yet atmospheric and always seems to be full, although you can usually get a table.
The menu is vast and packed with some of my favourite Spanish ingredients like Morcilla de Burgos, Iberian pork and Valdeon cheese. When you have top ingredients, it’s best just to respect them and keep it simple.  No stupid foams or gels or any of that nonsense you’d find on Great British Menu – food is all the better for it.

I have to admit I’m backdating this review from September.  Not a usual practice of mine, but I’ve always found Tapa to consistently deliver great food with commendable service to boot.

We order a few of our favourites and a bottle of their superb house Rioja, (Tapa offers four plates with a bottle of red or white Rioja for £30), beginning with Delicias de Ternera (£6.50) or slow cooked beef croquettes.  Coated with a thin layer of polenta, the pulled shin of beef was rich and decadent and excelled with the accompanying mojo picon sauce that thrilled the palette with punches of garlic and paprika.  A wee sprinkling of sea salt would have perfected them but that’s what salt shakers are for.

My favourite Morcilla de Burgos (£6.75) is a must try.  The little morsels looked so pretty on the plate with a little Quail’s egg on top.  Cutting through it releases the egg yolk to create an indulgence to this humble Spanish black pudding that really takes me back to tapas bars we’ve frequented throughout Spain, but with an added refinement.

I can’t go to a tapas bar and not order patatas bravas (£3.50). They are so moreish and addictive when dunked into the tangy tomato sauce or garlic aioli.  Again, a sprinkle of salt just turns the volume up a notch.

The pimientos de Guernica (£5.75) are superb deep fried green chillies layered with sea salt. Simply a knock-out.  They have a mild, slightly sharp flavour to them and are often served along with a good steak across Spain. An ideal tapa to have a with a cold pint if you ask me.

The main event was without a doubt the Secreto, which at £8.50 is one of the pricier options on the menu. This is similar cut to the rib-eye cut and comes from the Iberian black pig.  The meat just melts like butter and has a pleasantly charred note to the outside. The roasted pepper sauce livens the tongue up and you’ll talk about this dish for days to come.

This really is a wonderful place to eat.  The chef has a clear respect for the amazing produce Spain has to offer and has a deft touch when it comes to executing the dishes.  The food is authentic but with an air of refinement to it – a fine balance to achieve.  I’d definitely recommend giving Tapa a shot.  

Twitter: @tapaedinburgh
Phone: (0131) 4766 766
Address: 19 Shore Place, Edinburgh, EH6 6SW

Tapa Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato