Move over China Town and the Curry Mile, these days Manchester’s got enough restaurants for its own Tapas Quarter as well. The last couple of years has seen a surge of new eateries from that particular part of the world, but it’s not just quantity in this invasion from Spain, there is real quality too. For those in the know though, Evuna have been supplying the city with exclusively imported boutique Spanish wines for more than a decade on Deansgate, plus they’ll also feed you. I was amazed to find out it’s already been three years since they opened the doors to their second site, this time in the heart of the Northern Quarter, so it was high time we found ourselves a spot at their bar for the evening.
Where else to begin that with the classics, and the plato Español, a mix of Iberico, Serrano, chorizo, cheese and more. A reminder as if it were needed that they really know their way round a pig, do the Spanish. I also enjoyed those nobbly, skinned almonds too, a nice addition. Patatas bravas can often be a little lacking in crunch and fried bits for me but these were well done. Our waiter also recommended the montaditoes, cheese on toast made with leeks and Manchego, the perfect accompaniment to our first wine of the evening a spicy, fruity Tempranillo from the Rioja region.
More great red-wine-food ensued with the filetitos, tasty, tender slithers of seared fillet steak marinated with chilli and garlic. Probably the prettiest dish served up all night was the orange and fennel marinated pork belly from the specials menu. I loved the fragrant flavours of the rich fatty cut, reminiscent to me of Chinese cooking.
The carrilada de cerdo was slowly braised Iberico pork, sat on slices of baked potato, which flaked invitingly at the prod of a fork. Another attractive dish called lubina came next, half a sea bass perched over salad leaves and surrounded by dots of zesty garlic and chilli dressing. It was perfect for a nice white and we enjoyed the fish with the lovely Trascampanas Sauvignon from Rueda.
For dessert we opted for the baked cheesecake and a nice glass of sherry. Just to finish things off our waiter also prepared a favourite of his own from where he calls home, in the Canary Islands. Leche leche is a sweet coffee made with condensed milk, like a dessert all on its own, a nice touch to finish a delicious meal.
We had a great time eating and drinking our way round Spain, the food was impressive and there are some really delicious wines on offer. The restaurant offers definitely a different option to a lot of what’s on offer in the Northern Quarter at the moment, but the vibe is still that laid back feel you’d expect from the area. Pop in for a drink and I’m sure you end up sticking around for awhile.
This May at Evuna they’re featuring unknown Spain and have 10 new wines that are yet to be seen in the UK. The food specials take up the same theme and this month will see dishes from lesser known areas such as Monterrei, Terra Alta, Jumilla and Riberio, to name a few. If that’s the sort of thing that tickles your fancy there are also regular wine tastings that alternate by restaurant, the next one is at the NQ site on 16th May and tickets are just £25.
Click here for more information.