Landing into Manchester after a whirlwind trip to Spain, where you can’t quite comprehend how you managed to consume so much fresh Calamari in 30 hours, let alone the Sangria to wash it all down with…
…Surely, tapas is the last thing you want to set your eyes on, right?
La Vina is possibly my favourite haunt in the city centre for authentic Spanish food.
Other establishments of this cuisine often find themselves the victim’s of over-oiling, over-salting and under-aioli…ing (it’s a thing, honestly). But when dining La Vina, the platters are fresh, the wine is flowing and the music is a divine middle ground between Julio Iglesias and Gypsy Kings.
We arrived for supper, delighted to be trying out new divine selections of their spring menu.
Glasses filled, we chatted with our server who talked us through exactly what we’d be trying. Happy to be left in the hands of the experts, our mouths watered at the impending feast carried over by handsome waiters.
To begin, Pan Del Dia
Slow-cooked pork belly pieces, hugged by a golden, hand-crumbed casing and served with membrillo for a cheeky sweet kiss.
You definitely won’t want to share.
The Marcona almonds really stole my heart.
One pot caramelised, one tossed with salt and pepper, a simple yet ridiculously more-ish concept. You’ll permanently find your hand dipping in for the next handful.
Ideal if you’re just looking for a nibble.
Now, on to the mains…
Firstly be sure to order enough so you can no longer see your table.
Roll up your sleeves, and dive straight in.
Gazpacho, not normally my favourite but La Vina swayed me.
A refreshing yet hearty dish, forget the spoon and dunk your bread until soaked completely. Its chilled texture might surprise you at first, but stick with it to enjoy the heated peppery notes and added lightness from infused cucumber.
Berenjenas Con Miel Y Trufa, AKA the show stealer (for me anyway)
A stack of lightly battered aubergine slices, delicately crispy and sweetened with honey and truffle oil.
Calabacin and Esparragos –
Shavings of courgette and asparagus, enhanced with a squeeze of lemon, extra virgin olive oil and grated manchego.
My co-diner wasn’t keen on this, but I adored the fresh flavours and lightness.
If you’re a fan of fresh fish, you’re going to love this next dish (poetry completely off the cuff).
The ultimate pudding, wickedly indulgent and a fresh balance between sweet and tart.
We polished that off too.
Feeling utterly spoilt, we curled up in the softly-lit ambiance, nursing tumblers of some kind of Spanish fire water and desperately fighting against the urge of an inpromtu siesta.
If you’re new to La Vina, I recommend you first sample their Menu Del Dia; a choice of 3 tapas dishes from their most popular selections and a drink for £9.99 pp. Total barg and a fine way to introduce yourself to exactly what La Vina has to offer.
If you’re torn between what you should order, chat to your server, they’d be more than happy to tell you their favourites.
Mucho Bueno amigos.