Oh what a joy it is to eat out stress free. I do wish I’d appreciated the luxury a little more before I went dairy free. Last week myself and my boyfriend headed to Tapas Revolution in Greys Quarter, Eldon Square, Newcastle to try out their food and drinks and put their allergy handling skills to the test. Spoiler: the outcome was pleasingly good.

Sangria time

When Tapas Revolution first opened I missed being cooked for by the company’s founder, chef Omar Allibhoy as Alex was still fairly new and poorly and I was more than a little miffed. This was a real shame as it would have been nice to add Omar to the list after enjoying Jean Christophe Novelli‘s cooking as part of the festive feast with Aldi a few years back. Tapas Revolution has since launched an adjacent bar de tapas that boasts an impressive happy hour or sangria time Sun-Fri 12-7 which also includes 2-4-1 on gin and tonics and cocktails. We’d originally planned to visit Tapas Revolution to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday but a family bout of norovirus unfortunately delayed proceedings for a week.

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On our rescheduled visit, as we headed in to town I was more than a little excited at the prospect of having a proper ‘date day’ along with a few drinks.  I’d scoped out the menu online and was beyond overjoyed to find a really good Tapas Revolution allergy menu. Hallelujah! I really can’t praise restaurants enough when they make a nice clear menu that’s simple to read. Where allergens in dishes weren’t broken down on the menu we found staff at the restaurant knowledgeable and able to tell us how dishes could be adapted to make them dairy free, suggesting what we might eat on the menu. Yes, they had a heads up that I was dairy free but take not other restaurants at all levels, this is how it should be done.

I was completely put at ease by first manager Sam then our Spanish waiter, Javier. My dietary requirements never felt like a problem, there was lots on the menu I could still eat and a few things that simple adjustments like leaving the aioli off made safe for me to eat. We chose eight tapas dishes and all eight were safe for me to eat. How amazing is that? Sometimes I struggle to find one or two safe options on a menu.

Tapas already has a special place in my heart and a nostalgic spot in my stomach thanks to visits to Primavera and Sonar festivals in Barcelona back when I was child free. How happily did I roam drinking Rioja and Cava and eating pinchos as I went. In honour of these sunny times we selected one of the spring Cava cocktails from the menu. The Sparkling Tropical Sangria, was light and fruity without being overpoweringly sweet and the watermelon chunks in it were delightfully alcoholic. It would be a perfect tipple for drinking in the restaurant’s bar looking out onto the street as an afterwork drink in the summer or during a shopping pit stop. A cute little plate of Iberian ham and some bread sticks accompanied our drinks and made us wish we’d ordered the Jamón Ibérico tapas plate.

What we ordered

Pan con tomate £3.25
Albóndigas en salsa £6.25
Chorizo a la sidra £5.75
Paella de pollo £5.50
Torreznos con mojo dulce £5.95
Calamares fritos a la andaluza £6.50
Arroz negro £6.50
Patatas bravas £4.25

The food came out fairly quickly in succession and was so bountiful we thought we had made a mistake ordering so many plates but we underestimated our sleep-deprivation fuelled appetites. I had ideas of taking some snazzy flat lay snaps but when the food arrived I just pointed and papped quickly because my tummy was growling.
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IMG_5862My favourite was the arroz negros – black rice with prawn and squid. I could happily eat a huge bowl of this comfort food and was so pleased to find the squid was cooked perfectly. I easily polished off most of the potatas bravas myself as they were nice and crisp and not at all greasy. The saffron touched paella also went down too easily. I’d have liked a few more beans in that but there was plenty of chicken. The caramel pork was more of aconfusing affair. The pork and fat were rendered lovely and crisp and served with a caramelised sauce, flavoured with tasted like smokey pimento. It was really quite spicy too and while I couldn’t decide whether it was for me, I ate a lot of it! I think maybe I’d prefer a different sauce but the pork was cooked to perfection. The tomato bread hit all the right notes with my boyfriend who demolished most of it himself. While I enjoyed the meatball sauce I found the herb flavouring of the meatballs a little strong for my taste. The chorizo was both salty and sweet with a little smoke thanks to being cooked in cider.I wasn’t sold on the sweetness even though I recognise it’s traditional to put Chorizo with cider or Sherry but as my boyfriend has much more of a sweet tooth it really appealed to him and he happily dunked his bread in the sauce.

I’ve become accustomed to not having too much in the way of dessert options when we dine out. Our lovely waiter said he believed I could have the churros without the chocolate but we were pretty full from our savoury feast so we passed. We liked Tapas Revolution a lot. With our jug of Sangria at half price plus eight plates of tapas our date day feast came to a very respectable £52.30. We were being greedy guts though as I swear being a parent makes you hungrier.

It’s interesting to see which brands from Greys Quarter development are staying put and I really hope Tapas Revolution is one of them. I’ll be making an effort to visit again because it’s nice to have a change from pasta and sauce when I eat out and as a big fan of a buffet, I’m sure my little foodie in the making will love it too. We spotted that Tapas Revolution offer a kids menu for £5 and as I’d much rather Alex tried new flavours and foods rather than being subjected to the usual mundane (and dairy filled) choices on children’s menus, we’ve
promised her a visit when we next head out on a family shopping trip.

Big thanks to the staff at Tapas Revolution for making us feel so welcome!

*The cost of our meal was covered by Tapas Revolution but our review is an honest representation of the food and service we encountered.