Tapas Revolution: a Tapas revelation
Located smack in the middle of Westfield London’s first floor atrium, Tapas Revolution is the brainchild of Spanish-born Omar Allibhoy – Maze alumnus and the executive chef of El Pirata de Tapas. A group of fellow foodbloggers and myself were recently invited to sample the food and partake in Omar’s debut book launch – the eponymously named ‘Tapas Revolution‘ which features over 100 of his favourite classic Spanish recipes.
Omar Allibhoy’s Tapas Revolution
I must admit, I was initially a bit skeptical about the concept of shopping mall tapas, fearing the mediocre, mass-produced sort created to feed frenzied hoards of shoppers passing through one of the country’s largest shopping meccas. To my delight and surprise however, all the dishes we were served over the course of the evening could easily rival some of the best traditional tapas I’ve tasted on my travels in Andalucia and Barcelona.
Everything from the classic Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Potato Omelette) to the Salmorejo (thickened Gazpacho puree) to the Pulpo a la Gallega (Octopus and Potato stew with paprika) looked, tasted and felt like the real deal. It was great to see Omar working the floor and chatting with all his guests that evening. His infectious passion and enthusiasm for his native cuisine really shines through both the cooking here as well as his fantastic front of house team. What’s more, with most dishes priced between £3.95 to £5, it’s all very decent value for the paying customer. Here’s the highlight reel of the tapas spread we were treated to:
A Tapas revelation…
What I particularly wanted to share with all of you however is Omar’s fabulous recipe for Pinchos Morunos (‘Moorish skewers’). I managed to rustle up this delicious dish using merely store cupboard spices and some leftover bread, piquillo peppers and fresh thyme I had lying around in my fridge. Served with Mojo Picon, a very addictive olive oil, red pepper and sherry vinegar based sauce from the Canary Islands, it was undoubtedly my favourite dish that evening and one that I was very pleased to see featured in his new book. The cumin, paprika, and thyme based marinade packs bag-loads of flavour and was completely fool-proof to make. I used pork fillet for my skewers, but as Omar suggests, the flavours work just as well with beef (they served skirt steak skewers that night in the restaurant) or lamb. A dead simple and must try recipe!
My take on Omar’s Pinchos Morunos!
Pinchos Morunos con Mojo Picon
Recipe adapted from Tapas Revolution by Omar Allibhoy
Ingredients (serves 4)
500g Pork fillet – trimmed and cut into 2 cm cubes
For the Pinchos marinade:
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 garlic clove – finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
For the Mojo Picon:
- 1 slice white bread – torn into small pieces
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 dried chillies
- 1 roasted piquillo pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- salt – to taste
- Mix the pork fillet cubes with all the marinade ingredients. Let the flavours infuse into the meat overnight (a couple hours will do if you are short on time).
- For the mojo picon, fry the bread, dried chillies and garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the bread is crisp and brown. Remove from the pan and blend in a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients (olive oil, piquillo pepper, cumin, paprika, sherry vinegar, caster sugar) and pulse in the food processor until you get a rough paste. Add some additional olive oil if the paste is overly dry then season with salt to taste.
- Once the meat is marinated, thread 4 – 5 cubes onto each skewer (if you are using wooden ones, make sure to soak your skewers in cold water for at least half an hour to avoid burning them). Cook over a griddle pan or BBQ on a high heat for 2 minutes on each side until cooked. Season and serve with the mojo picon.
They don’t come more moorish than these.
p.s. Many thanks to Omar as well as Emma from Neil Reading PR for a fantastic evening.