Tantalising Tapas {Review – Paco, Bristol}

When going to a tapas restaurant, I think it’s important to pick your dining partners wisely. You pass on the friends who will order a lovely selection, for themselves. The ones who never learnt to share the croquettes or doesn’t even offer the last slither of Iberico ham. Or heaven forbid, pass on having a look and ordering dessert. Luckily for me, I have the perfect tapas companions who have never committed the aforementioned sins. This was even more important when recently visiting the gem of a place, Paco. Owned by the brilliant Sanchez Brothers of Casamia fame. Paco is a star in its own right and even Michelin starred at that. They have nailed the level of attentive, knowledgeable staff, beautiful array of dishes executed perfectly whilst maintaining the relaxed environment of sharing dishes with good friends and good drinks.

Paco Menu and Sherry

I’ll share you some of my star dishes but we, of course, ordered much more, but you’ll have to visit for yourself to discover how delicious they are in person.

Jambon Croquettes – If there are croquettes on a menu, there is no way I’m ever not going to order a plate of the wonderfully crisp-shelled, luxurious creamy gooey with nuggets of meaty goodness. My piece of advice to you all, always order an extra portion of croquettes, one portion will never satisfy your cravings.

Jambon Croquettes

Deep Fried Oyster, Cecina and Smoked Alioli – This was the special on the night we visited. Having struggled in the past with raw dressed oysters, the prospect of a deep fried oyster was so much more appealing. Dressed with Galician cured beef and smoked aioli, a wonderful mixture of fresh ocean saltines, concentrated meatiness with the creamy punch of aioli. This dish that should definitely be on the main menu all year around.

Deep Fried Oyster

Manchego Cheese with Honeycomb – Wedges of crumbly, salt crystal studded manchego cheese, served with a golden floral nectar from cut fresh honeycomb, should be served at every dinner. Just perfection.

Manchego Cheese with Honey

Tomato Salad – I love a dish that is so simple and means the quality of the produce needs to shine through to make the dish truly special. This Ensalade de Tomate is just that. A beautiful selection of heritage tomatoes, thinly sliced with a light dressing, to highlight the perfection of this dish, to the point of the dish being mopped up with hunks for bread to get every last drop.

Paco Tomato Salad

Duroc Pork Ribs – Slow cooked hunks of pork ribs for 15 hours, then grilled to crisp, charred buttery fat. Just barely hanging on to the rib bone, this dish was an overload of flavours and texture. Beautiful stand out dish.

Pork Ribs at Paco

Crema Cantalan – Laced with fragrant orange through the soft set cream under its crisp bruleed top, with a fennel pollen dusting for a light anise flavour. Light for such a rich dessert with the fennel adding a new depth of flavour.

Creme Catalan Paco

Chocolate Mousse with Toast and Olive Oil – Shards of brittle nutty toast, against the deep richness of the chocolate mousse and grassy vibrancy of the olive oil. A perfect way to end a wonderful meal.

Chocolate Mousse with Olive OIl Paco

A sign of a great meal is having loved everything, finding it hard to pick a favourite and being sad when all the food is finished. I went through all those emotions at the end of this meal, and just means I’ll have to return, very soon.

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