Review: Tapas and Tannins at La Parada

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la paradaMany have wondered what shape a post-2020 dining scene would take, with multiple restaurant closures, supply chain issues disrupting menus and food delivery options mushrooming online. The answer may lie in convivial events like the themed Tapas and Tannins evening that took place last week at La Parada’s newest restaurant on 4th Avenue, Parkhurst. Funky flamenco dancer graffiti graces a concrete accent wall, while the bronze-fitted bar space gives off an authentic taperia feel.

The daring menu of the first Tapas and Tannins instalment was the brainchild of Charmaine Ramalope–Makhubela a.k.a Glam Foodie. In a striking black leather jumpsuit, Charmaine spoke about the far-off places, Mexico, Patagonia, Spain, that influenced the flavours of the evening. Ramalope–Makhubela’s six course tasting menu was complemented by a smart selection of Spier wines. The wines, selected by Mandla Patson Mathonsi (former DW-13 sommelier, now regional sales manager at Spier), paired excellently with the dishes.

The Glam Foodie certainly lived up to her name, commencing with a trio of plump oysters, each one served in a unique way. She quipped before the starter that Tabasco on oysters was so 2020 and after trying her more innovative take I have to agree with the chef! A sip of the Spier MCC Brut and the oyster with apple mint salsa made for a bracing and refreshing start. The one topped with chargrilled red pepper cream and a dusting of prosciutto brought out a surprising natural sweetness in the oyster.

la paradaDelving deeper into global Spanish and Hispanic food cultures, the heartier tapas that followed reinvented traditional dishes like ceviche, seafood paella and the humble but beloved taco. All cultures that favour the bold and complex flavours that Ramalope says often characterise her cooking. The paella found itself in slightly heavy croquetas with a smoky pimentón aioli. However, the soft taco filled with crisp chicken in a beer batter, herby chimichurri and creamy goat’s cheese made for a winning combination. The braised beef that followed fell apart irresistibly in the mouth and the paprika in the dish resonated with the leather and spice box qualities of the Seaward Shiraz which accompanied it. According to Mathonsi, both the Seaward Shiraz and Seaward Chardonnay are newer additions to the Spier brand. They showcase grapes grown on cooler, sea-facing plots in the Tygerberg Hills.

With international travel presenting a few difficulties at the moment, La Parada’s Tapas and Tannins experience was able to whisk us away via our palates. Dishes were beautifully presented owing to Ramalope’s food styling skills, the wine flowed generously and at R395pp you’d be hard pressed to find a better vibe and tastier small plates and drinks deal anywhere else right now.

Efemia Chela

Tapas and Tannins at La Parada ran on 25 March and will be an ongoing dining series. We’ll keep you updated with upcoming dates. 

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