A family visit to Paella Thursday at Tapas Revolution in Bath
“Here, that paella’s not what you think,” suggested a friend after his first visit to Spain. “It’s not got a crust or anything.”
We were hoping that our children’s first experience of paella in a restaurant might be a bit more successful. The signs were good. They’d be treated to a wide variety of international-style meals at home ever since they could hold a fork, and a previous visit to Tapas Revolution had been a success, with the children very keen reacquaint themselves with the tapas on offer.
Tapas Revolution in Bath can be found at the lower end of Southgate, just opposite My Small World toy shop. As with our previous visit, the welcome was warm with the very child-friendly staff soon fielding questions about whether the tree in reception was real (it wasn’t) or the holly plastic (it was). Still, the decoration works well to give the restaurant a relaxing atmosphere, and with drinks ordered, we were soon looking at the menu.
The restaurant has recently introduced its Paella Thursday deal, which offers half price sharing paellas every Thursday from 7pm, and had drawn us out for a slightly early end of term family treat.
Following the advice of our waiter, we went for two paella dishes, the paelle valenciana with chicken, green beans, artichokes, red peppers and rosemary (£12 per person) and the paelle de marisco, made with shellfish: squid, tiger prawns, mussels & red pepper (£14) per person), both served in helpings big enough for two people.
As side dishes, we added on the chorizo a la sidre spiced Asturian sausage roasted with cider (£5.95), calamares fristos a la Andaluza squid strips tossed in flour, deep-fried and served with alioli and lemon (£6.75), the Albondigas en salsa beef and pork meatballs in a rich tomato and vegetable ‘sofrito’ sauce (£5.95) and croquetas de jamon deep-fried cured ham and béchamel croquettes (£5.75).
While we waited for the food, the children practiced their Spanish with the waiters and we did our best to ensure the ‘no phones in a restaurant’ rule was obeyed
With the tapas turning up first, the children were immediately happy, diving in and loving the flavours of each of the dishes. Tapas is great way to eat and perfect opportunity to introduce children the new flavours. While our daughter made short work of the squid, the boys were soon fighting over the last of the meatballs.
Unfortunately, the paellas didn’t reach the same standard. The portions were generous and the waiter did his best, saying how good they looked and that we’d be sure to enjoy them – but we didn’t. They were just too stodgy and lacking flavour, with none of those fresh tastes that make a paella so appealing. And this was a pity as it was the only element of the meal – albeit quite a significant one – that let the evening down.
Fortunately things picked up again significantly with the desserts. The children couldn’t get their order for churros con chocolate – Spanish crispy doughnuts tossed in cinnamon sugar and served with hot dipping chocolate – (£4.50) in quick enough, while we grown-ups went for the crema Catalana – traditional Spanish custard made with vanilla, cinnamon and lemon – (£4.25) and the new helado con strawberries – a Spanish equivalent to an affogatoo with vanilla bean ice cream with fresh strawberries and a shot of Pedro Ximenez sweet sherry – (£5.95) all proving a big hit.
So all in all, our return visit to Tapas Revolution in Bath was a mixed affair – a wonderful welcome, good tapas, perfect puds and a paella that’s probably best to avoid. Still, the children’s culinary education was increasing and it meant that we parents didn’t need to cook or wash-up, and that had to be a bonus.