For someone with tapas baggage, the idea of a tapas style place can be fraught with angst and a sense of impending disaster. Although as Tapasia describes itself as Japanese Tapas the agony's a little lessened after all, sushi and sashimi are easily shareable small-portion format food.
Initially I was a little hesitant about the place, I'll admit walking past a well-stocked cocktail bar, we wondered if this was going to be a bar which did a sideline in Japanese food, rather than a place with the high quality food we were hoping for.
When our first round arrived tuna and salmon sashimi, and salmon skin maki any fears we had were immediately dismissed. The food was tremendous! The texture and flavour of the sashimi put Tapasia clear ahead of many other Japanese places we've visited. And the salmon skin maki were an absolute culinary revelation. However, the best was yet to come
We followed up the first round with a selection of hot tapas the BBQ pork, Baby Gem in Truffle Butter, Ying Yang Kushi Yaki, and Seabass Ponzu. The pork was tasty and the sauce a little feistier than you'd expect but as soon as you wondered whether you might suffer heat effects it subsided again. We very much liked the baby gems an interesting and innovative way to serve them, ,with the truffle earthiness just delicate enough to remain enjoyable. The Seabass Ponzu was flavoursome & interesting and came with a brace of mushrooms that made me think of Cthulhu. Far and away though our favourite was the beef skewers 2 sticks of succulent cubed beef, served with a hint of herbed bearnaise-style sauce. They were so good, we ordered 2 more!
If it were possible to give half marks this would be 4.5 the service was competent enough without being amazing, and the decor was understated to the point of seeming forgotten. And probably the overriding impression we had was that it would've seemed overpriced had we not had a 50% off deal through the website we made our booking with.
Splendid meal though. Perhaps the restaurant section upstairs may have given a different vibe and formalised the place a bit. If we can get the same deal again though we'll definitely be back!
tapas baggage = dislike of the format owing to repeated occurrences of going out for a group tapas meal, selecting a couple of dishes, and then being forced into eating the horrible stuff other people have ordered whilst they enjoy the wonderful things I've selected usually including them cooing about how amazing tapas is and how they'd never have tried the thing they're currently eating if not for the small & multiple portion format.
+ really tasty foods
+ friendly staff
+ fully stocked bar with a selection of sake
- pricey without discount
- loud music
I came here on a weekday for lunch and it was pretty much empty except for my corner booth table. Situated in the the heart Soho adjacent to numerous bars and pubs, I can see why people may easily pass this by thinking its just another trendy bar. I only found out about the venue through TopTable and its offer of 50% off food drew me in.
The narrow venue reminds me of tapas bars that exist in abundance in Barcelona, with a bar on one side and only a handful of tables and chairs on the other.
As I was there for a Monday lunch, I didn't get the chance to sample any of the wide selection of alcoholic beverages and instead tucked right into the food, ordering four tapas dishes and some rice to share between the two of us. We had the pork belly, scallop, king prawn, and beef skewer, and all of the dishes were faultlessly executed and beautifully plated, with exuberant flavour and succulence that I hadn't expected from tapas-size dishes.
The only thing keeping me from awarding a fifth star is the price. At half price, our meal costed £20, in line with the area, but I would have flinched if I had to pay over £8 for a dish of two scallops, for instance.
Overall I really enjoyed the the atmosphere that reminds of a Catalan tapas bar but with Japanese style foods. The slight drawback is the loud music blaring in the background (despite the fact there were only two of us dining at lunch, to the point where we felt compelled to request it be turned down a notch), but perhaps that's just my preference for a cosy spot to catch up with friends rather than a clubbing atmosphere. The very flavoursome food, however, is worth a re-visit.
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