{Review} Tapas lunch @ Tasca Viva

As you can see, I haven’t decided yet about the layout of my pictures. It’s so difficult as sometimes I have a lot of pictures but other times I’ve only got a couple. Do I condense them? Do I post individual ones? There are many reasons for or against so while I decide about it, please do bear with my fickleness.

And so it started with another one of our many group chats on Whatsapp deciding on where next to sink our teeth into. It was Shaun the resident directory of Adelaide eats whom suggested the brand spanking new Tasca Viva at Glenelg. Since the forecast announced mild weather over the weekend, a trip to the beach sounded absolutely fabulous.

Upon arriving we marvelled at the beautifully done decor. The lighting was unique and I could not take my eyes away from the psychedelically intricate blue-toned wall paper print. The window opens the entire restaurant front towards Moseley Square and bank of alfresco seating. With such wonderful weather of course we went with the alfresco, as with most of the other patrons. The wait staff was friendly and went out of their way to make sure that we were comfortable. Such immaculate service.

The food arrived in good time after placing our orders. First up, there was the 1/2 Doz Oysters with Pedro Ximenez with shallots and caviar from the specials menu. Served atop a bed of rock salt, the oysters were immensely fresh and glides down really easily. Too easily that you’ll blink and they’re gone. The advertised PX was faint though the caviar jazzed it up some.

The Quesos Manchego and Valdeon was a platter of Spanish Manchego and blue mould cheese with apples, muscatel and thin pieces of bread. The bread was sliced crisp-like thin, amazing. I have to admit that I’m not a cheese connoisseur hence the subtle differences in cheeses are lost on me. I thought the Machengo, a type of sheep’s cheese from the La Mancha region of Spain, was very mild. I couldn’t recall any sheep-ish aftertaste. Moving on, I usually am not a big fan of blue cheese but this one with the bread was a wonderfully pungent combination. The apple and muscatel served as a good balance of sweetness to the rich and salty of the cheeses.

The next three dishes came from the specials menu as well. The Pulpo- un poco Gallego was described as a classic braised octopus from Galicia. The Galicians sure do know their octopi. The dish was served with microherbs, little slivers of battered potato, I’m guessing squid ink jus  and a mysterious white powder. The octopus was incredibly tender but slightly under seasoned.

The presentation of the crab salad threw me off stride as I was expecting a pile of crab flesh atop salad vegetables. How wrong was I? The crab stack itself was delicious and paired best with the cubes of fried croutons though we would have preferred more of them morsels. We were wondering about the gray cube and upon sampling, we found out that it was actually pate. The candied lemon peel added a dimension of sweetness to the dish.

Tartare of ocean trout was my favourite dish, brought to the table by the chef himself as he missed our order. A layer of raw trout cubes sat atop a layer or creamed trout which sat atop a layer of avocado. It was out of this world! Already a huge fan of sashimi, this certainly brought new heights to the experience of eating raw fish. Complementing the dish was a little blob of trout jelly, tasting very much like the jelly-like layer on top of commercial pate (think Maggie Beer). This was so good that I wish we had a larger serving.

Never ever having a nicely cooked quail (they were all either really dry or burnt to cinders), I was apprehensive towards the ordering of this tapas. The Codorniz a la plancha was half of a grilled quail with almonds and caramel-like sweet moscatel sauce. Prayers were answered when I speared the quail with my fork. I could see that this quail was succulent. Sampling it confirmed my thoughts. This was understandably the best quail I have tasted, though I am still not a huge fan of quail. Why have little poultry when you can have big poultry – cue chicken.

Lastly, the Trasero de buey a la brasa was a poorly presented- someone commented that it looked like dog food – grilled Wagyu rump with Valdeon blue sauce. The menu boasted a marble score of seven and true enough the steak was melt in your mouth tender. Paired with the pungent sauce, the tapas was exquisite, thereby making up for the poor presentation in spades.

Rounding up the experience, I’d say a truly memorable dish would be the trout, winning with its innovative take on the traditional tartare and delivering with freshness and quality ingredients. The remaining dishes, although good were slightly above average and a bit too expensive. Washing it all down with a bottle of Ginger Ale, my stomach was still only half-full so we ended the meal with a nice cone of ice-cream from the famous Royal Copenhagen. Nice!

Tasca Viva Restaurant Tapas Bar on Urbanspoon

Tasca Viva | 18 Jetty Road, Glenelg SA 5045 | (08) 83768880