Nope, not pasty sausage rolls, vol-au-vents (though it may be the 80s kid in me but a good vol is highly underrated) and things on sticks. Instead British Tapas is a selection of fantastic dishes, with a nod to British produce and food, in nibbly form over at Grafene.
Served for both lunch and early dinner (think pre-theatre) and at 3 for £20 and 5 for £30, it’s a bit of a tasty bargain – and was perfect when Mr GFB and I only had a little time to spare before I had to pack for my trip away. But first, cocktails.
Whilst Mr GFB went with a classic, nicely spiced Bloody Mary, I went for something more whisky based with Sugar and Spice – Bulleit Bourbon, cherry liqueur, cinnamon, bitters and a lemonade top, served with toasted cinnamon foam and caramel popcorn. Tall, sweet and underneath that sweet top, rich and boozy.
Onto food, and the selection is nicely varied. We went for a rather carnivorous selection, but the first had to be the Manchester rarebit. Made using their own inhouse bread, it’s rich, cheesy and umami laden flavour wise. And hard to stop eating after two slices.
Having sampled the full size version on our last visit, the next choice was black pudding with apple, white bean and bacon. A light creamy foam hides pan roasted chunks of black pudding, nutty while beads, crunchy pieces of pork scratching and salty bacon.
Third up, continuing the meaty theme came the tender corn fed chicken served with a morsel of buttery chicken wing, croquettes, charred Little Gem lettuce and cauliflower, all swathed in lipsmacking chicken gravy.
Our penultimate choice, was burnt ends of brisket with peas pudding and roasted onion. Now, being a barbecue fan, I’d certainly argue these weren’t burnt ends, more toasted brisket, but flavour wise, it was hard to argue. The pease pudding was soft and starchy, the brisket crisp and chewy, it was hard not to lick the plate (but we were in polite company across from a group obviously celebrating a wedding, so I refrained, because the last thing a bride needs is the view of a greedy fat redhead licking a plate at her celebration).
Finally, duck leg with her and beet piccalilli.
Now quite clearly, Grafene are getting their ducks from some sort of farm that encourages lifting, because that leg is quite obviously from a duck that squats. I mean look at it. It’s huge. Comparatively my betting is that this mallard could have out squatted me and my thighs easily.
Whatever farm it is, it quite obviously works wonders, because the confit duck leg melted away from the bone like butter, leaving soft tender flesh laced with a hint of anise, and cut through by that earthy pickle. That’s a dish I would revisit in a heartbeat (after I quiz them on who is coaching the ducks).
This meal was short and sweet, especially given I’d indulged my sweet cravings on my accompanying cocktail. But it won’t be our last. This menu is going to be far too tempting to revisit and, having spied their Sunday offer (freeflow tapas on Sundays with two cocktails for £40 – booking essential), I might need to indulge a little bit.
This meal and accompanying drinks were supplied for free by Grafene. As ever, this doesn’t guarantee a positive review (if anything, I tend to be a harsher critic).
This is a perfect budget option if you can’t manage one of the tasting menus, or like me are just greedy. More please.