Confession time: I really hate shopping. I would rather (and often do) wear scruffy hand-me-downs or hopelessly outdated clothes I’ve owned forever to avoid battling through crowds, endless shopping rails and sweaty, heaving changing rooms.
“Retail therapy” my arse – I feel like I actually NEED therapy after most retail experiences.
It’s a different story when it comes to food and makeup which I could browse happily for hours, but for everything else I typically binge-order online and end up returning most of it. I even took less than 1 hour to choose, try on and buy my wedding dress because I couldn’t bear the thought of spending any more time browsing.
Saying that, with the nuptials now properly looming (for which I blame the neglect of this blog, sorreeee) my “to do” and “to buy” lists are growing alarmingly and a serious shopping trip is required.
Thank god then for malls like Westfield in Shepherds Bush which make the whole experience relatively painless – particularly because of the surprisingly good food offering. A few years ago the idea of going to a shopping centre for a enjoyable meal, or even a quick pit-stop between shops, was alien but you can definitely be assured of a decent feed at Westfield.
I took a break from the shops to meet a friend at Tapas Revolution on the mezzanine level. Here, you don’t escape the crowds as such; you are still very much aware that you’re in a mall but it feels quite civilised to stop and perch at the bar with a glass of wine and a delicious array of tapas to nibble on, while watching shoppers continue to bustle around.
We had been told that the Madrid-born chef behind Tapas Revolution, Omar Allibhoy, had introduce some new dishes to the Spanish tapas menu, so we tried a couple.
Arroz Negro, £5.25, was a richly flavoured dish of black rice with prawns and squid, served with alioli.
Ensalada de Tomate, £4.50, combined red and yellow tomatoes with olives and red onion to make a fruity and moreish salad.
More juicy, ripe tomatoes were to be found in the pan con tomate, toasted bread moistened with garlic and olive oil, £2.95.
I can never resist Boquerones, and Tapas Revolution’s version is marinated in olive oil, garlic and parsley were delicious squished into house bread, £4.75.
Ordering Pimientos de Padrón (£4.95) is like playing Russian roulette; the green peppers are mostly sweet and juicy but every now and then you get a fiery one. Whether hot or mild, I love the blistered skin and crunchy topping of sea salt.
We fought over the last of the croquetas de jamón, £4.50, crunchy deep-fried Iberico ham croquettes with an addictively crisp crust and silky centre.
It would be sacrilege not to indulge in a plate of Jamón Iberico and at Tapas Revolutions they are served with a smile.
This acorn-fed ham was sliced skilfully thin so the slivers melt on the tongue. Blissful.
Tapas Revolution is due to open a new restaurant in Shoreditch later this year and I can’t wait for the chance to enjoy authentic, quality tapas, without having to venture near a clothes shop!
Kiosk K2024, The Balcony