The contemporary tapas at El Nido is a little different and influenced by the traditional dishes served in the Basque Country. Here, in view of the Pyrenean mountains and the Bay of Biscay, Spain borders France and both countries’ cuisines feed into the flavours and ingredients.
El Nido’s chefs James and Damian Fichett started the first tapas bar in Liverpool in 1992 and have been adding to their signature dishes ever since. Filet Tournedos (a French invention, since you’re asking) is one of the most popular choices on the menu, and suitably decadent: steak served with chicken liver pâté on a truffle oil-toasted crouton and topped with sweet Madeira sauce. Another one for the meat-lovers are the succulent lamb cutlets marinated using a traditional Basquais rub made from the piment d’Espelette chilli, grown only in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. Another El Nido favourite, and this time vegetarian, is the plate of honey-glazed baked figs teamed with tangy goats cheese and sticky pomegranate. Of the more ‘classic’ tapas ilk, dishes include veggie patatas bravas and padron peppers, crispy fried squid in the seafood corner, and albondigas meatballs or red wine-braised beef cheeks. Croquetas of course are here, with choices including Serrano and Manchego or goats cheese and spinach.
Desserts are all homemade and meet the brief with the likes of lemon posset and burnt Basque cheesecake. Drinks wise, and both Estrella Damm and San Miguel are on tap and in bottles, there’s a choice of Spanish wines, and various spirits include a range of G&Ts (very popular in Spain) plus Tia Maria, which, as we all know, means Auntie Mary. El Nido, incidentally, means ‘nest’, hence the menu’s bird motifs.
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