The Diary of a Foodie

These food blogs are made up entirely from my own personal views. I do not work for, or get paid by any of the establishments that I mention.
It is a personal account based on a personal experience, and should be treated as such.
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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Costas/Spanish Tapas/Penrith

Went to this restaurant last May after lots of recommendations, up until then I had never heard about it.

We booked, and lucky we did as it was crammed full and very busy. This time we booked and it was empty.

The reason we have had a gap of 6 months or so between visits is we were not too sure whether we enjoyed it or not, so decided we should give it one more go.

Situated on Queen Street, a back street just off the main street through Penrith, no parking directly outside but walkable from most of the parking spots around the town centre.

When you walk in you are immediately transported to somewhere else, it is full of nick nacks, photos pinned everywhere, and plastic grapevines. The main waitress, who I believe is also the owner, wears traditional Spanish Dress which looks great.

A bad point is the seating - bar stools ! You just cannot get comfy on a bar stool at all, if you have an ample bum you tend to slip off, and if you are too short, your legs just hang there uncomfortably. You tend to end up standing with your bum just perched on the edge of the stool.

We ordered some wine, priced around £14 a bottle, this was unavailable, we were offered another one which was nearly £18 on the menu, so we re-chose a different £14 one.

The menu is vast, but a lot of it is unavailable due to some of the products being seasonal. I asked for the baked Courgette dish in May - out of season, same in October, although you can still buy courgettes in Morrisons!

The Tapas portions are quite large, you are advised to have no more than two per person, and you certainly won't need more than two each. They also have a 'main meal' section too.

There were 4 of us dining, 3 choosing Tapas and one main meal.

We started with some Garlic Bread, gorgeous crispy bread dripping with Garlic Butter and a pot of Garlic Mayo. (ignore the bite out of the corner)

There are 4 mushroom dishes on the menu, but after ordering Garlic Mushrooms we were told that "The Chef is only doing the Blue Cheese mushrooms tonight", so blue cheese mushrooms it was. They were surprisingly nice to be honest, not being a blue cheese fan.
Got to wonder why he couldn't do the other mushroom dishes though, unless everything is pre-prepared.

To go with them we ordered Garlic Potatoes and Tomato Potatoes, a huge portion, even between 4 of us we couldn't finish them all.

I asked if the Spanish Omlette could be made without onions, but was told "no, the mix is already made", but my friends ordered one anyway, it looked good. What a shame they cannot adapt dishes, something as simple as leaving out an ingredient.

My friends also ordered a Sweet chilli beef dish, which I missed taking a photo of, but it was a sizzling dish with rolled up slices of beef in a sticky sauce, they said it was divine.
She also wanted another dish which was off the menu, so she was advised to have the peppers with soft cheese, deep fried. (The photo shows just half the portion as we ate them before we remember to take a photo!)

They were really nice, and came with an interesting looking garnish. I caught the passing waiter and asked what it was, he said "Russian Salad", there was a pause and he added "Do you not know what Russian Salad is?" I said I didn't and he said it was Tuna based !!! Tuna salad on two Vegetarian dishes?? And the waitress who took the order knew I was Veggie as she was advising me what to have. How very odd.

We were a good way into our Tapas, wondering where Hubbys main meal was, it took around 10 mins to arrive after the tapas. He ordered a chicken dish with the sauce on the side in case he didn't like it, but it came smothered in the sauce. Not wanting to send it back and wait he just scraped the sauce off.
Again a large portion, but at £15 you would expect that, it was served with potatoes and green beans. He said the chicken itself was "fine".

The 'side' salad was enough for 6 people !

We opted not to have a dessert as the only things on offer were bought in ice-cream pre-prepared desserts. If there had been an authentic, or hand-made dessert we might have been tempted.

The bill came as a little shock, all the Tapas we chose from the main menu were around £5-£6 each, the beef dish my friend ordered from the specials menu (which had a note saying, please feel free to ask for the price of any dish) was £15 ! This was for 8 thin slices of beef in a sauce, so a bit pricey in my opinion. If you go, do check the prices on the specials menu.

The bill was just under £80 not including a tip, for 4 people. 6 Tapas dishes, on main course, 1 Garlic Bread, 1 bottle of wine, 1 lager and 1 soft drink.
Here is their website.
Let us know if you have been.

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