I can't remember when we've last visited La Tasca. I believe it was about 10 years ago in the Leicester branch, but my hubby said otherwise. About 2 weeks ago, La Tasca was holding a bloggers event at their Manchester Trafford Centre branch that I was going to attend. Unfortunately I had to cancel last minute and missed it. The PRs were very understanding, and they were happy to subsidise me and my family's visit last Saturday for us to review their food and the newly refurbished restaurant.
I haven't seen how the Manchester Trafford Centre branch looked like before, but I was really impressed when we walked in. It was spacious with lots of lights, but the ambiance was perfect for night outs and dates as well. The seated areas were split into different sections, each suitable for different occasions.
We were seated in one of the booth seat around the corner, and were well looked after by one of their staff Natasha. We ordered coke (can't beat Coca Cola from a glass bottle) for me, and San Miguel for hubby. We also ordered Capri Sun drinks for the kids from their children menu, which was included in the £5.95 meal together with 3 tapas each, assorted vegetables and a dessert as well. Between the 2 of them, we've ordered: La Tasca's meatballs, cheese croquettes, chicken croquettes, omelette, fried potatoes and garlic bread with cheese.
Each of their meals were served on wooden boards and little serving plates, which I liked and thought was very fancy. I wouldn't mind having my food served this way! The food is the same as the adult tapas but in smaller portions. They are of course equally tasty. Our favourite from the 6 was the omellete, which has potato and onion inside. It reminded me a bit of my favourite Indonesian Potato Croquette! Abby really liked it and has asked for more from Clay's portion. The chicken and the cheese croquettes were filled with delicious fillings too and had a lovely, crispy batter on the outside. The kids enjoyed most of the food, with Abby eating quite heartily (she ate most of everything), but Clay was feeling too hot and tired from all the other activities we had during the day, so he didn't eat much.
Me and hubby were assuming that the tapas portions were fairly small, so we ordered 8 tapas between us, which are (from top to bottom, left to right): beef and pork meatballs, pork belly, Spanish black pudding and chorizo, beef burgers, calamari, fried potatoes with cheese, paella of the day (chicken and chorizo) and goat's cheese and tomato salad.
We still thought that the portions seemed fine when they've arrived, until we started eating. Tapas can be quite filling, and I too surrendered soon. The weather is certainly not helping! It would have been great if the air conditioning was on, but interestingly, the majority of shops I walked past on the day haven't had theirs on either. Clay's hair was soaking in the restaurant and hubby was having a hayfever attack, so we have requested for our candle to be removed, which has improved the situation slightly.
Having said that, we still enjoyed our food thoroughly. Our favourite was the Spanish black pudding & Chorizo. Hubby said that (I don't really eat black pudding) the black pudding was better than the English ones and quite moist as well. I initially thought that I don't like chorizo as I had some soggy ones before, but La Tasca's chorizo was amazing! It was full of flavours AND texture as well with a crispy skin. The dish would go really well with any fizzy drinks, and both of us think that it's worth ordering 2 lots of it next time.
Our second favourite was the pork belly, which was another amazing dish. It has a great meaty layer at the bottom, melt in your mouth fatty layer and a crispy skin. It was well seasoned, and delicious on it's own or with the beans and sauce that came with it. It would be another one of the dish that we would definitely be ordering again.
The beef burgers were a bit dry, though quite tasty. I think it would have been nicer if there was some kind of sauce (like the sauce for their meatballs) in the burger as well. The calamari disappeared in no time as it's one of Abby's favourite dish no matter where we go. It has a great crispy batter, cooked just right and their homemade paprika and roasted garlic mayonnaise complimented the dish really well.
As I was quite full, I wasn't too keen in the carbos, so I think I'd have to try the fried potatoes and paella again another day. But judging from Abby eating them non stop, I believe that they are very yummy indeed!
One thing that's my least favourite due to personal preference was the goat's cheese and tomato salad. When I've ordered it I think I had Mozarella Cheese in mind (my bad), which I really enjoyed the last time I had it at somewhere else. So this was my first experience ever in my life trying goat's cheese, and it just wasn't something for me as the goat's smell was too strong. Hubby told me that he had this dish before at La Tasca and he quite enjoyed it, but he also thought that it was a bit too strong this time. I do think I would have enjoyed it if it wasn't for the goat's cheese as the beef tomato, olives and salad dressing was delicious. At least I've tried it and I can tick goat's cheese off my "food I've never tried" list!
As it was so hot, every one of us had either sorbet or gelato for dessert, although I would have loved to try their new dessert platter for two very much! Anyway, the sorbet and gelato were the right choices and we've all cooled ourselves down (should have eaten them before the main!) Hubby had a taste of Abby's lemon and passionfruit sorbet and he had to order the same for himself as well. The tanginess was just right to make it refreshing but not enough to make your lips pucker, so even Abby enjoyed hers (we told her it was ice lolly without a stick as she wanted an icy lolly, which they've run out). I tried their vanilla and chocolate gelato and it was one of the best ice-cream I've ever had. It was so smooth and creamy, I would have eaten the whole lot if I wasn't so stuffed already. The chocolate one was really chocolately but very light. The vanilla was gorgeous as well, although my favourite was still the chocolate.
Overall, apart from the warmth, we really enjoyed our meal. The music was great, which made us feel like dancing! All the staff were really friendly and helpful, and the restaurant was very spacious and well decorated. The atmosphere was fantastic and the food was gorgeous (apart from the goat's cheese hehe). We would definitely go back again and recommend to others too. In fact, I've already applied for my loyalty card, as they do some really good offers for their members each month!
Disclosure: We were subsidised for our meal but all opinions however are honest and our own