Monday, 15 June 2009

You heard it here first

Tapas bars. Are they not just the 00's answer to Fondue restaurants? Here today, laughed at tomorrow?
I had the pleasure of being taken out for dinner on Saturday by the parentals, and Mum chose Bellota, a Tapas bar on the Sky City complex. Bellota is by Peter Gordon, Mr Chef du Jour. We had both read reviews about Bellota, and they were ALL good. Auckland restaurant reviewers can be notoriously nasty, so we went along, expecting glory.
Unfortunately, like the All Blacks' same night defeat to the cheese-eaters, it was a disappointment.
Firstly - the wait staff looked THROUGH you, not at you. There is a difference. It was as if they did not like us being in their space. Now, it wasn't busy. Humming, but not busy.
Then, the menu stated how you should pronounce Bellota. I have a THING about signs, or menus, that decide to state (lar-tay) on their signs (pee-no-gree) how their products are pronounced. Maybe I am a language snob, but surely if I'm going to a Spanish restaurant with a Spanish name, I'll know that the double-l is pronounced "yih".
We were "seated" inside the very dim bunker that is "Bey-otta" at a small knee level coffee table, on 4 ottomans. My mother and step-dad are young in mind, but not in body. Having nothing to lean back on, and having to bend right over to pick up their glasses was annoying. Proper tables - yes please. The table was promptly laden in water glasses, our glasses, a large cutlery holder, salt and pepper grinders and a bowl of anchovy-stuffed olives (gross). This left a 1cm square area for the tapas that we ended up ordering.
While we read the menu, around us the space was filling up with exceptionally drunk young persons. With a sinking feeling, we realised that Bellota wasn't a Tapas Bar at was a hip groovy too cool for school piss-up joint, that happened to serve food. Being too late to pull out, we forged ahead with ordering.
It was the usual Spanish stuff - chorizo, jambon, pate, calamari, meatballs, something else I can't went on and on. Each plate was okay. There was not one thing that I went, OH MY GOD YUM, except for the chorizo/jambon mixed plate. But then I realised that 12 thin and small slices cost us $38!! Which is the normal price for a main meal at a good restaurant. It was here that I started thinking about getting a combo on the way home.
I was sad by this stage - sad for Mum because she felt bad that she'd picked Bellota - when all we really wanted was a quiet place for a good nosh and some delicious wine, not this pretentious, noisy as hell bar that has the misfortune of being the Place To Be Right Now. Maybe when all the bright young things head off to the next venue, it'll settle down to being more of a food destination than a place to get you up the status ladder at work on Monday.
We all decided upon leaving that while we weren't hungry anymore, we also were not satisfied. Having had so many flavours and small mouthfuls, what we all longed for was a bloody good steak. Next time - Jervois Steak House. While Tapas are "fun" and "different" they are also, in my opinion, a major rip-off and a fad. 5 years. At the outside.

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