Monday, 4 November 2013

La Tasca, Meadowhall, Sheffield

It's been a while since I've had a rant on here. I didn't go to La Tasca specifically with a whinge in mind, really I didn't. I went because I was hungry and it was convenient and I'd heard rumours of a revamped menu and attempts at doing things properly and I even got invited to a jamon carving shindig there a while back with the promise of genuine iberico de bellota.

So I went to La Tasca feeling vaguely optimistic that it would have morphed into one of those satisfactory-never-going-to-be-amazing-but-will-do-the-job-once-in-a-while sort of chains, instead of just being completely shit. Well I'm really glad I didn't go to the freebie ham carving night, because it's never much fun moaning about free stuff. If this meal was a fair representation of the place, it's still very much in the completely shit camp.

In photographic order rather than level of crapness I bring you: patatas bravas. Limp, mealy spuds in a sauce tasting exactly like tinned tomatoes with stale smoked paprika stirred through without the benefit of being cooked afterwards. The spanish omelette I couldn't fault as I like eating wodges of the supermarket bought ones (Lidl or Mercadona will do nicely) on my holidays and this was the same as those.

Croquettes were manchego and spinach, not a combo I've ever encountered before (what's wrong with ham or chicken?) but they were at least crisp and greaseless. It was just a shame they tasted of absolutely nothing.

We inadvertently overloaded ourselves with more of the same pappy potatoes by ordering a lamb and potato stew and a portion of octopus with potatoes. Given the headline billing you could reasonably expect lamb and octopus to have been the main ingredient in each dish though. Sadly not.

The lamb amounted to four gristly bits of disappointment in a weak broth with lots and lots of potatoes. The bread on the side was that clever sort of bread that looks like good bread until you eat it and realise it's slightlier crustier aerated Kingsmill in disguise (see also: speciality breads from Asda).

The octopus was predictably chewy (except for the occasional random tender bit) and bland, but at least it came with lots and lots of potatoes.

Last and pretty much equally least; the house green salad. A speciality of Navarra, the Spanish region famed for bull-running and manky mixed leaves in a cheap balsamic dressing.

I'd be a lot more forgiving of the general awfulness of the food if we'd had really great service and it was dirt cheap, but neither was the case. The service approach seemed to be grab whoever's nearest and try your luck. The beer I ordered never arrived and it took ages to get someone to fetch the bill. The dubious positive was the literally less than five minutes it took for all the food to arrive. Some sort of turbo microwave system?

The icing on the cake is that La Tasca is actually quite pricey. We paid about £30 for this load of rubbish. That might not be an expensive meal for two, but it's actually quite a bit more than you'd pay for a comparable meal at a proper tapas place.

In spirit of investigation I've checked the menus for a couple of places I like to make sure I'm not talking bollocks here, and an equivalent six dishes at either the splendid Bar 44 or the excellent Salt House Tapas would cost you slightly less, and would be about fifty times more appetising.

Awful in every way. Don't give them your money.

3/10 Sadly everywhere.


Eating The North said...

I kind of guessed where this was going when I saw the words "la tasca"...

Fair play for giving them a chance to start with.

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