I was recently treated to a taste sensation at the magnificent La Parada that I just had to share with you all. It was on a sunny day in Cape Town, Spanish like tapas, local wine, and chic décor.
Walking into La Parada makes you feel as if you have been transported into a different era. Located in an old-fashioned, barn that has recently been revamped. This gem boasts funky artwork, beautiful high ceilings, an exquisite fireplace, and a mix of interesting chairs and well-designed lampshades. This all makes the atmosphere what it is – I can say whole-heartedly I am in love!
The restaurant is enormous, offering you a chance to sit outside on the stoep (so Cape Town) or inside. For us, it was decided. Sunny as it was, the winds of Cape Town would have blown me away – and we would rather be blown away by the meal.
We started the afternoon off with a glass of cold and crisp Buitenverwagten Buiten Blanc. This is a super refreshing, easy drinking wine and fruity on the pallet.
Being a tapas restaurant, the way La Parada serve their tapas is if it were a piece of art, it was picture perfect! The three of us decided to order 8 different tapas from the menu to share amongst ourselves, and this is what we chose…; prepare your taste buds!
First up was the one and only Pork Cheek Croquetas. Wowzers, but words cannot describe the magnificence of this dish! This was the first time I have ever eaten Pork Cheek and I can say I will be eating it again, soon! It was like paradise on a fork. Pork Cheek Croquetas a braised pork cheek dish served with fennel, orange, sauce gribiche. The experience of tasting this was out of this world. I loved that when I cut into my croquetas the gooey sauce flowed out and then melted in my mouth. The pork was so tender and not overly salty as I imagined it may be. I can highly recommend this dish to anyone who is a pork lover like myself.
The Pork Belly followed and was a sticky pork belly, served with star anise, caramel, and toasted sesame. This was one of my favorite dishes, what I loved about this, in particular, is that the pork belly and the crackling were not at all chewy which often it can be. This was juicy and succulent and the caramel and star anise was an explosion of flavours that burst in my mouth.
Up next, another firm favourite – and surprise, it is again a pork dish! It is La Parada’s Ham Croquets, this was heaven! The Ham Croquets were served on a bed of mustard aioli, which brought out the flavour of the smoked ham when taking the first bite. This dish is a winner!
Something completely different, which I have never had before is the Atun y sesamo, seared sesame crusted tuna served with fine beans, olives, citrus, and anchovy. This is not my favourite as I am not a raw fish lover, but what I did enjoy was the balance between the citrus, olives and the tuna. It went so well together and left the pallet feeling so fresh and clean. Sushi lovers out there, this would be the ideal dish for you.
Champinones al Ajillo, fifth on my list, was a poached egg, served with truffle oil and pecorino on toasted bread. This for me was really interesting to try, this was also another first. The poached egg oozed its yolky goodness all over a bed of crispy toast and sautéed mushrooms. I loved how the taste of the truffle oil really came through, hinting its rather garlicky flavour, but for me, that was an added bonus– garlic is life.
To finish off our tapas we enjoyed the dish Lengua, a tender and moist serving of beef tongue, accompanied by a scattering of pickled and smoked cauliflower florets. The taste sensation of this was incredible with the subtle smokiness. I loved that this was not exceptionally salty and that it was served cold – what a beautifully arranged dish.
In addition to our FEAST of tapas, we ordered a side of roasted butternut and immediately fell in love with this dish. The butternut was served on swirls of yoghurt, cooked with honey and thyme. I loved how the yoghurt tamed down the taste of the other flavours as the thyme was very prominent and honey can be very sweet.
We finished our meal off with two desserts to share; a Pastel de Bilboa (a custard tart, meringue, and chocolate creation) and a Flan de Leche (Orange Blossom crème caramel) and wow it was delivered with all the gooeyness and custardy feels you could possibly get. The best part of this dessert is that it was not heavy and it did not leave us feeling overly full.
The service came with a warm welcome and many smiles. I can say we received the most impeccable and friendly service. Our waiter Wonderful, was truly exceptional and we thank him for putting smiles on our faces too.
All in all, La Parada is an outstanding restaurant. This is the place to be this summer and here is why; they have a mouthwatering menu – boasting showstopper food, together with, with top-notch service – in a gorgeous location. This is the perfect way to get the Summertime vibes going with family and friends! And yes, I will be back again very soon!