For the longest time, La Parada was just a cool spot to have drinks with friends. It’s perfectly situated in the heart of Bree Street, has super-cool decor and a vibey ambience. I was aware that they served tapas, but after a disappointing meal, I stuck to the drinks.
When I was invited to try out their new menu, I was hesitant, but hopeful. Newly appointed executive chef Martin Senekal spent five months developing the hot spot’s new menu and, I must say, all that hard work has paid off. Now, for those of you who love La Parada’s tapas, fear not. The menu still features their greatest hits, such as the beef shin, prawn and Serrano ham croquetas.
The additions are great and a little different to what you’d expect. While it is still very much tapas, now, instead of getting essence of food (like a quarter potato cut in six pieces) you get a tasting portion of food that you can mix and match as you choose. There is a focus in Low Carb High Fat (LCHF), so if you are following that eating plan, you are spoilt for choice.
Martin, having worked at the Cape Grace and The Showroom, has a created wonderfully plated flavourful dishes. There is a huge variety of tapas, a nice selection of sides and desserts with a difference. I tried dishes from each section.
After chowing down those yummy croquetas, we got started on the salads. We tried the smoked tomato, charred octopus and seared sesame-crusted tuna salads. The octopus was by far the favourite around the table, but for those of you who are not a fan of the creatures (as my aunt calls them), the smoked tomato salsa is delightful.
For meat, we tried the line fish, roasted pork belly and beef fillet. Each had their merits, but the linefish was particularly tasty. The fish of the day was cod, served with blacked corn, green pepper salsa, avo sauce Romesco and lime. It was one of the most flavourful dishes of the evening. To accompany the meats, we tried charred green beans and broccoli, cauliflower puree (which was surprisingly good) and the most amazing honey and thyme roasted butternut.
If you are in the mood to share, as is the case with most tapas, there are five sharing dishes that are meals on their own. We had a whole roasted chicken cut into pieces served with a house salad, grilled corn on the cob and roasted garlic aioli. There is also a pork, lamb, beef and prawn sharing option, so no matter what protein you’re in the mood for, you’re covered.
For dessert we tried the apple and walnut baked doughnut with a coconut macaroon, butterscotch sauce, and pistachio and milk chocolate ganache (yes, it is as delicious as it sounds). My favourite was the coffee panna cotta. It came with a toasted marshmallow, honeycomb and vanilla bean custard that was out of this world.
I have no doubt that Martin Senekal’s new menu will take La Parada to the next level. The food has improved exponentially and I no longer think of La Parada as a place just to get drinks.
Photography courtesy La Parada