“Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible.” – Dorothy Draper
The word ‘Tapas’ is derived from a Spanish verb “tapar”, meaning ‘to cover’. Tapas are a wide variety of Spanish appetizers or small plates. The serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation over drinks because people are not always really keen on having an entire meal set before them along with their drinks. The tapas culture originated in Spain where eating dinner happens to be quite a late affair and during the time gap between lunch and dinner, Spaniards would often go bar hopping and enjoy small portions of food with their booze everywhere they went. Gradually, the Tapas culture began to spread and gain popularity in various countries across the globe, leading to inclusion of multi-cuisine dishes in the Tapas menu without restricting it to Spanish dishes alone. Nowadays, while it’s very common for bars and pubs to include some tapas varieties in their food menu, there are few others like SOHO that specialize in serving tapas.
Not only have they boldly named the bar after the fashion and art district of New York, but also have they done complete justice to the name! Standing as sturdy as the historic cast iron architecture of SoHo in New York, is a tall building housing SOHO Tapas bar on the ground floor in the bylanes of Versova in Andheri west. The decor is very minimalistic yet so elegant and poise. The wall bang opposite the glass doors that open into the air conditioned dining area that functions as a large projector screen showcased Charlie Chaplin videos on loop on the Sunday afternoon that we went. The place is adequately lit with comfortable couches and wooden tables and the music simply blends well with the classy decor.
A delicious bittersweet concoction comprising of coffee flavoured vodka, expresso shot and caramel, all mixed together forming a foam on top dusted with some coffee powder; this one is a MUST have for a coffee lover!
An absolutely soothing and warm cocktail comprising of brandy, hot water, little bit of honey imparting a little sweetness, a slice of lime and a cinnamon stick that added a little spice to the concoction.
Succulent and juicy prawns were marinated in a spicy and tangy traditional Spanish tomato based catalonian fish stew dressing and topped with citrus soy air which was basically a citrusy foam. The resultant dish was absolutely flavourful and totally won our taste buds!
Calamari were stuffed with a uniquely done mixture of nearly spherical, thick and short grained Spanish variety of rice called the Bomba rice, chopped jalepenos imparting a little spice element to the filling, chopped olives, and smoked turkey ham and were served on top of some melted cheese smeared onto the plate along with some herbed chilli olive oil drizzled on the sides. This dish struck a perfect balance between spice, sweetness and creamy deliciousness.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Chimichurri Dressing
I was so intrigued to try this one as it’s description read ‘sous-vide’. Expecting the chicken meat to be extremely succulent, juicy, full of moisture and evenly cooked within and on the outside courtesy the slow, vacuum packed and temperature controlled steam cooking, I was a little disappointed as I took the first bite because the meat was slightly tough and chewy on the contrary. The only saving grace was the spicy and sour marination and the garlicky flavour imparted by the Argentinian inspired Chimichurri dressing on top of the boneless chicken which was absolutely flavourful.
Pulled Chicken Quesadillas
Corn tortillas were stuffed generously with vegetables like spring onion greens, juicy chunks and shreds of chicken, refried beans and some cheese and served with some tangy tomato salsa, guacamole and sour cream. This dish had tremendous potential, had it not been a tad too dry to taste.
tomato salsa, guacamole and sour cream
This meaty platter comprised of cuts of chicken salami, turkey ham, chicken bacon and chicken pepperoni; making it solely a chicken platter. Though the dish didn’t disappoint even a bit taste wise, incorporation of other variety of meats like pork, beef, etc would have been an even more deliciously meaty affair!
After trying plenty of tapas that they had to offer, we decided to sample this one from their relatively limited breakfast menu. This open faced version of the traditional french ham and cheese sandwich comprising of lightly toasted bread loaf topped generously with emmental cheese allowed to melt over the crunchy bread, oodles of creamy, thick and buttery béchamel sauce and turkey ham was again a delight to taste!
This platter comprised of four different cheeses, which included the hard and slightly acidic emmental with a mild fruity taste; yellow, hard and again slightly acidic cheddar cheese; the white, grainy, salty and tangy feta cheese; and a buttery, creamy and smooth ball of mascarpone cheese in the centre dusted with some chat masala in an attempt to make it’s otherwise mild flavour more piquant and spicy. It’s safe to say that including much more varieties of cheese to this platter will sure make it an irresistible dish for all the cheese lovers in the city!
Baby Lobster Bruschetta
Lightly toasted crostini breads were topped generously with juicy, moist and tender Lobster meat, julienned bell peppers, sliced jalepenos and black olives, shreds of smoked turkey along with some sweet chilli pesto drizzle that imparted a little bit of spice element to this crunchy dish. The fact that the presentation was so interestingly unique as the bruschetta was so beautifully plated alongside an empty lobster shell also deserves appreciation.
Injected Peri Peri Chicken
Succulent, tender and well cooked chicken breast injected with a spicy peri peri marination and some creamy peppercorn sauce drizzled atop, was served with a creamy and smooth mashed potato cake with a brown crispy fried exterior along with crunchy, seasoned and sautéed exotic vegetables like baby corn, zucchinis, bell peppers, etc. All these perfectly cooked elements paired up well to constitute the culinary masterpiece that this was!
Spaghetti Aglo Olio
Spaghetti pasta was cooked to perfection along with exotic veggies like black olives, bell peppers, etc tossed in plenty of herbs and olive oil and garnished with shredded mozzarella and served along with some crunchy garlic bread.
Crispy fried, oily and thick churros were dusted generously with cinnamon powder and castor sugar and served with dense, sticky and sweet toffee sauce and a bitter and sweet chocolate sauce.
The caramel cube drizzled with some chocolate sauce on top, rested on top of some raspberry coulis smeared onto the plate and had a soft, smooth and melting in the mouth consistency and a deliciously sweet taste.
The service was extremely warm, welcoming, attentive and reasonably fast. The attendants are very well groomed, polite and well trained, though some of them may seem to be a little confused. They are efficient, nevertheless and do ensure that you are having a great time!
Beverages – 5/5
Food quality – 4.5/5
Food quantity – 4/5
Ambience – 4/5
Service – 4/5
VFM – NA (this meal was courtesy an invitation by the restaurant to sample their menu)