This Spanish Restaurant Serves The Best Tapas We've Tried Outside Barcelona
There's always time for tapas, especially at a restaurant like Salero.
It was while sitting in a street-side café along Las Ramblas in Barcelona in 2009, tucking into seafood paella and the greatest sangria of my life, that I declared I would never eat Spanish cuisine outside of the country again.
Fast-forward to 2015, and I'm living in Dubai. A city that, in recent months, has welcomed a smattering of Spanish eateries to its vibrant foodie scene. And so, for the sake of research, I found myself seriously back-peddling on my former promise - making a Wednesday-night dinner reservation at the much-hyped Salero Tapas & Bodega in MoE.
It certainly lived up to its reputation. Giant wicker baskets hang from the ceiling, tables are adorned with hipster-appropriate pots of fresh basil and red checked napkins; a giant Picasso-like mural occupies one of the walls, the rest of which are lined with ceiling-high shelves packed with Spanish books and vases. Yes, the sight is a fiesta for the eyes. But a Spanish establishment is only as good as its food – and its sangria.
We start with a jug of the sweet stuff as our friendly waiter brings over the most interactive bread basket I’ve ever come across. The offering is less of a bread basket and more a pile of thick, toasted slices accompanied by a tomato half, roasted garlic, some oil and salero (salt in Spanish. There’s your language lesson for the day). We’re instructed to rub the garlic and tomato over the bread, drizzle with oil and season with salt. The effort is worth it and I make a mental note to use this idea to step up my dinner-party game.
The menu is packed with classic Spanish dishes and servings are, thankfully, pretty generous (and designed for sharing, so bring your crew with you). The list of must-tries is extensive: fried eggplant drizzled in cane honey, croquettes filled with chicken and oozing Manchengo, charcuterie (including pork!) and cheese boards, paella made at the live cooking station… It's fine, the diet starts tomorrow.
The dining ambience was heightened by a live flamenco performance, which – at risk of sounding far older than my years – was way too loud. Though maybe that’s because I was well into the early stages of a food coma and on my third serving of sangria by that point. It would have been rude to skip dessert (hey, we’d come this far, right?), so we opt for classic churros and chocolate. The churros are a little crispier than I would have liked, but still hit the spot.
In short, if you're looking for decent food and drink, a nice atmosphere and a convenient location – this place is certain to tide you over until that next trip to España. Gracias, Salero.