Great Span­ish tastes a lit­tle closer to home

The Scarborough Evening News - - DINING OUT | YOUR STARS - BY STE­WART PATER­SON

De­spite con­sid­er­ing my­self as some­what of an ad­ven­tur­ous eater I had never ac­tu­ally tried tapas be­fore, un­til this week.

I have never been en­tirely con­vinced by the con­cept, truth be told. I didn’t even try it on hol­i­day in the Ca­nary Is­lands, where tapas bars were plenty.

Even in the UK, a melt­ing point of cul­tures and cuisines from all over the world, I still some­how man­aged to avoid ever go­ing to a tapas bar.

So, en­ter new­com­ers to the block El Fuego Tapas Bar and Res­tau­rant, on Prince Street, Bridling­ton.

I had pre­vi­ously done a short write-up for the pro­pri­etors who were mak­ing their first go at run­ning their own es­tab­lish­ment.

I thought, where bet­ter to make my tapas de­but than a newly opened joint with big am­bi­tions?

My girl­friend and I booked a ta­ble for Tues­day at 7pm. We weren’t ex­pect­ing it to be busy — El Feugo’s hasn’t had the chance to prop­erly es­tab­lish it­self and get their name out around Bridling­ton.

There were, how­ever, two other din­ers in the long, spa­cious din­ing area.

“There’s so much room here they could do with get­ting some more ta­bles”, I thought to my­self.

The place was, un­de­ni­ably, still a bit a rough around the edges. I thought they could do with a few more ta­bles to fill the spa­cious room.

But that in no way re­flected the qual­ity of the forth­com­ing food.

We sat at our ta­ble by the win­dow look­ing out across Prince Street and were of­fered some drinks by our very friendly wait­ress and pro­pri­etor, Jo Clark.

Jo had spent some years in Spain, learn­ing the cul­ture, way of life and, most im­por­tant of all, the food.

She had de­scribed the Span­ish ap­proach to din­ing as a “chilled out” one. Surely this is the best route to suc­cess in set­ting up shop in a sleepy, sea­side town like Bridling­ton.

And her part­ner Ja­son Lewis, pre­vi­ously a chef at Blen­heim Palace for the Duke of Marl­bor­ough, make a for­mi­da­ble team.

For a res­tau­rant that had been open for lit­tle over a month, Jo and Ja­son had done a great job in rapidly ex­pand­ing their menu over such a short pe­riod.

And my veg­e­tar­ian girl- friend was also pleased to see some very agree­able meat-free op­tions.

I opted for La miel de vein­tre de cerdo glaseda, or, slow roasted pork belly strips with a honey glaze, to you and me. I also or­dered a bowl of bat­tered cala­mari rings.

Both were cooked to per­fec­tion. I rarely choose pork, fear­ing the meat will be too dry. But Ja­son suc­ceeded in trans­form­ing it into a de­li­cious and ten­der dish.

The squid rings were ideal and came coated in a bat­ter that left me want­ing more.

My girl­friend also seemed con­tent with her patatas bravas and Span­ish omelette. I tried both and will prob­a­bly choose those on my next visit.

Over­all, I was very im­pressed with El Fuego.

It’s al­ways a risky busi­ness in start­ing a res­tau­rant, and work still needs to be done to ad­dress the decor. But I’m con­fi­dent th­ese im­prove­ments will come nat­u­rally over time.

Over­all rat­ing 7/10.

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