There’s no freezer at Las Tapas. Owners Javier Pardo-Vinals and Linus Kovats have one rule: “Do it exactly like we do in Spain”. That means only the freshest ingredients, cooked in olive oil, a little stock and nothing else.

There are no compromises – the bread is baked to a traditional Catalan recipe Pardo-Vinals’ mother had translated to English. He took it to the local Russian baker, who’s been making it ever since.

Just like back home, the menu is scribbled on a blackboard above the kitchen and changes daily depending on the weather and seasonal produce. Ingredients are sourced from local markets or Pardo-Vinals calls farmers listed in The Field Guide to Victorian Produce when he wants to order a suckling pig or rabbits for his winter stew.

Keeping to Spanish tradition, each dish has one main ingredient. Seasonal tapas choices could include local lamb cutlets, or maybe grilled artichokes with a serve of patatas bravas. One thing that never moves is the large pitcher of sangria on the bar, freshly made every morning. It’s backed by cocktails, plenty of bottled beers and an extensive wine list.

You can come in here late and sit at the bar next to Alfredo, a main supplier and regular. He claims his jamón is so good it will convert a vegetarian. With the salsa music playing in the background and the rustic setting, you might forget which country you’re really in.

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Updated: December 12th, 2016

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