Tonight we are at Ambiente, a tapas restaurant and sherry bar in Leeds, to meet our friends in the north – Horace and Doris. We are still consulting the very long drinks menu when they arrive…
As there are four of us, we have the chance to sample a wide range of tapas dishes and it’s an opportunity that nobody wants to ignore. Our friendly waitress gives us helpful advice and we decide to order: dátiles con serrano; the vegetarian tapas wheel; albóndigas; chorizo y patatas; cordero a la brasa; panceta de cerdo; merluza rebozada; queso de cabra e hinojo; suppli; croquetas de garbanzos; and berengenas fritas.
For those, like me, who have little or no ability to read or speak Spanish: dates with Serrano ham; broad bean & rosemary pâté; sun-dried tomato & feta; olives; meatballs in chilli & lemongrass; caramelised chorizo & potatoes; barbecued lamb with honey, mustard & pistachio; slow-cooked belly pork; battered hake with tomato chutney; lightly battered goat’s cheese with beetroot crisps; mozzarella & risotto croquettes; chickpea & courgette croquettes with Moroccan spices; and aubergine fritters tossed in garlic. Nobody is going home hungry….
Like most tapas experiences, the food arrives as each dish is cooked. Horace and Doris chose this restaurant to meet us in and we can understand why. Everything tastes good and the variety of flavours and textures is remarkable. The dates stuffed with almond and wrapped in Serrano ham and the Moroccan spiced croquettes are my personal highlights.
It has been a wonderful evening – it has been great to see Horace and Doris, to chat about Yorkshire and life in general – while enjoying a festival of culinary creations from the Mediterranean.