HAVING walked numerous times past the, now defunct, Tapa on Hanover Street whose sparse interiors failed to tempt me inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the exposed brick, low lighting and wooden tables in Tapa Leith.
With a hushed yet lively atmosphere, all of the staff were happy to help.
With a recently reinvigorated wine list, we were recommended the Homenaje from Navarra (£15). A Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon blend, it was both smooth and spicy.
From the food menu with options split into meat, fish and vegetables, we were spoilt for choice. We plumped for Potaje de Garbanzos y Morcilla (£5.25) and Higos con Jamón (£5.50) from the meat; calamares fritos en harina (£4.85) and langostinos (£6.50) from the fish; and Queso de Cabra (£5.25) from the vegetables.
The goat’s cheese came covered in fig compote and could have been roasted for slightly longer but was nonetheless delicious. The calamari which came with a blissfully garlicky alioli were covered in a delicate flour batter and had none of the chewy rubber texture that is all too common. Continuing with seafood, the langoustines were tender, full of flavour and fresh.
The crisps of jamón were artfully placed in the top of the figs but slightly less ham would have been preferred. Finally the chick pea, chorizo and morcilla stew was in a light almost broth which was packed with flavour. Quite a large portion, the tomato based sauce was sweet and spicy, perfect teamed with the classic chick pea and chorizo combination.
With our eyes getting the better of us, we also had some of the classic patatas bravas with the alioli on the side. One of the most authentic versions of bravas I have tasted outside Spain.
• Tapa Leith, 19 Shore Place, 0131 476 6776, www.tapaedinburgh.co.uk