Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Tapas Tree - Shipley

I bought a Groupon voucher for Tapas Tree when we still lived in East Leeds knowing that I would eventually be living in the surrounding Shipley area. I meant to go the first week we moved for a friends birthday but then never found the time. We kept promising weekend after weekend that we would go... but never remembered to make the reservation (as with most Groupon vouchers you have to book ahead to use them).

It was drawing close to the end of July and the voucher was soon to expire, we happened to walk close by to the restaurant and decided to pop in to make a booking, there was no going back or forgetting about it then - and I didn't want to waste money on yet another voucher we haven't gotten around to using. (Although the last time this happened it wasn't our fault... the restaurant kept changing their minds about availability when we called to make a reservation, and then eventually stopped answering their phone and then eventually closed.)

We had no problems booking 6 days in advance for a Friday night with the voucher, as is also often is the case with Groupon vouchers, the voucher we had stated there was limited availability on a Friday and Saturday night.

The voucher I purchased was for 6 Tapas in addition to either olives or garlic bread. I can't remember how much the voucher cost me as it was, like I mentioned before, quite some time ago that I bought it. It sounded like a great deal and a great way to try a local restaurant. I was led to believe that we would get to choose 6 Tapas from this menu...

Lots of things to chose from and lots of things I like too....

However when we got to the restaurant that Friday night we were given this menu...

The choice had some what reduced, and reduced even more to those who are vegetarian or in our case don't eat seafood.

Now I have checked Groupon again to see if I had missed something in the small print, but this is all it says...

Forgive me if I am wrong but to me that small print gave me the impression I would be able to choose anything from the menu apart from meatballs, pollo marbella and beef stew tapas?

We were slightly miffed at this but didn't want it to ruin our evening so we ordered our 6 dishes from the Groupon Menu and then additional dishes we first fancied when purchasing the voucher from the main menu. All the Tapas dishes are £4.20 so it wasn't going to turn out too expensive.

So from the Groupon menu we ordered...

Olives - some of these were firm and tasteful, however some were mushy towards the bottom and there was far too much olive oil in the bottom of the dish and we found ourselves drying them on our napkins.

Patatas Bravas - I think most people order this when eating tapas. These were the biggest patatas I have ever seen they were about 1/2 to 3/4 of the size of a roast potato. They were also under cooked... a couple more minutes in the fryer would have made them just right.

Peri peri chicken wings - the sauce was fairly hot and I think my friend struggled a bit with them but otherwise the chicken was nice and fell of the bone easily.

Chilli con carne - we're now boarding towards Mexian inspired tapas here. Not as good as my own but I have managed to get mine down to a fine art so I have high expectations. The mince was cooked well in to the sauce and it was almost soup like.

Champinones con garlic - struggling for things we both liked off of the menu we chose this dish just for me although I did make my friend eat one. This dish was nice there wasn't too much garlic and the mushrooms weren't over cooked.

'Vine Leaves'- luckily below the title of the dish there was a further explanation as surely just vine leaves could not make a whole dish. This dish is in fact vine leaves stuffed with pine nuts and rice served on top of salad. One good thing about the Groupon menu is that it got us to try at least one thing we had never tried before. They were bursting full of flavour but the richness of just one meant that I couldn't attempt a second.

Paella - we had to see the black board to find out what that night's option was. It took us a while to find the black board as we were tucked away in a corner and the only board we could see had cocktails on... Luckily for us the option this night was chicken and chorizo just right for us. This was of decent quality and there were ample portions of chicken and chorizo; the rice was cooked just right too.

From the main menu we ordered...

Albondigas - spanish meatballs, they were okay as far as meatballs go. They weren't the best I have ever tasted but they weren't the worst either. The sauce was nice and thick and had soaked in to the meatballs but not overly so.

Chorizo con miel - honey glazed chorizo served in oil with bread. Again the chorizo was nice but not the best I have ever eaten but definitely not the worst. My friend enjoyed this dish more than I did.

So when 8 dishes turned up to the table we began to think that maybe we had been a little eager ordering so much food, but if  we were allowed to chose from the standard menu as we originally thought we probably wouldn't have ordered an extra two dishes....  The waiter saw our surprise and heard our comments of 'how on Earth are we going to eat all this' and said that if we didn't finish it all they could do us a take away box. This was nice as you very rarely get that option in this country!

In the end it turned out that we pretty much cleared all 8 dishes of food, there were just a few mushrooms, undercooked potatoes, bones and sauces left.

To accompany our food I ordered a glass of house red (only the house wine appeared to be sold by the glass) to which I was told they had two house wines that night, the one which wasn't advertised was a Merlot so I decided to go for that.

My friend looked at me anxiously as I went for my first sip, but it was actually rather pleasant. I wish I could tell you more about the wine but it wasn't on the menu and the waiter struggled to remember that it was Merlot when he told me that there was another wine on the menu that night!

My friend ordered a non alcoholic cocktail which was rather... girly.

Nevertheless they enjoyed it.

Oddly after 8 dishes between us we still didn't feel entirely full and so ordered dessert.

My friend ordered lemon sorbet. Their choice once again turned up looking rather feminine with a pink umbrella. They didn't quite manage to finish this large portion and wasn't too keen on the jelly beans dotted in it.

I ordered American cheesecake. This turned up looking a little more like a dessert for an adult...

I really enjoyed this and finished the whole cheesecake, although could barely move afterwards. The cream was a bit much, cream to pour on cheesecake? I just dipped the strawberry in it.

The bill came to around £15... although they tried to charge us a lot more than this.When bill turned up it had every dish on and no sign of our Groupon voucher which they had made us hand in when we first arrived. It turns out they had lost our voucher... luckily I have the groupon app and the guy at the bar remembered taking it from us. He was in serious trouble with the owner/manager and this wasn't hidden from the customers.

Overall it was just okay, none of the dishes were spectacular and I've had better elsewhere. Saying that we would go again as there was a nice atmosphere despite the waiting staff blunders. I must admit though that we wont be visiting when there isn't a deal on as I don't think the dishes are worth the full price advertised! I feel awful for saying that as it is a small local restaurant but there is definitely room for improvement. The fact that they don't serve wine in the correct glasses, the furniture is either cliché or not in the theme of the restaurant, the waiters are a young and a bit haphazard... these are all things that I could over look if the food was excellent.

Tapas Tree
Wharf House
Wharf Street
BD17 7DW

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