Almost a year ago to the day I was invited to the launch of Spanish restaurant Tapas Revolution in the newly revamped Grey’s Quarter of Intu Eldon Square. Since then, Grey’s Quarter has become a destination for those seeking quick, easy access to great quality food and drink in Newcastle and it’s not just Spanish food on offer either. The addition of The Alchemist has ensured that Grey’s Quarter stays open long after store closing time and has meant that surrounding outlets have had to seriously up their game when it comes to their drinks menus.
Fast forward to a year after an evening of tapas tasting and I’m back at Tapas Revolution for the intimate launch of their brand new cocktail menu which aims to offer something for everyone, along with a flavour of Spain…
Bo and I arrived at Tapas Revolution fresh from another launch event and were a little flustered. We were greeted by our Bar Tender Marco and shown through to a private booth in the bar area of the restaurant which looks out over Old Eldon Square – it’s only a little thing, but it makes eating or drinking in the shopping centre a way more attractive prospect when you can actually see outside. Once we were seated and decidedly less flustered, we were given a menu and asked to select three cocktails each which we decided to drink in rounds, rather than have on the table all at once.
First of all let’s address my awesome outfit, I wore vintage Pringle golf trousers with a topshop tee and a super cosy faux fur tee, might not sound like much but these are literally my current favourite trousers so any excuse I get to talk about them, I’m taking it.
On to the drinks. The menu has had a significant revamp and it’s split into the traditional Spanish style Gin and Tonic menu which I was thrilled to see included two of my most favourite and difficult to find gins, Larios and Xoriguer (if you haven’t tried Xoriguer gin I urge you to find it, you’ll never look at a bottle of Hendricks again) all served with Fevertree tonics of varying flavours. Next to that you’ll find the cocktail menu, there are eight Spanish inspired cocktails to choose from and a selection of three Sangrias. Cocktails vary from short to long and each has a strong vacation vibe in that you could easily imagine yourself sitting on Sant Tomas Beach watching the waves roll in sipping on one of these bad boys. Even though the menu is concise, it’s difficult to make a choice because they’ve managed to select drinks that are very different from one another but you know, in the name of duty we managed it. We went for:
ESPRESSO BLANCO MARTINI £8.50
Served in a traditional Martini glass, this smooth drink comprises Veterano brandy shaken with cold brew espresso, milk, dark chocolate liqueor, Kahlua and Frangelico. Basically all the sugary alcohol that tastes like no alcohol at all. It’s super easy to drink because of the added milk which makes it smooth and not as bitter as some Espresso Martinis you’ll find in Newcastle. This was my favourite and truth be told, I ended up having three.
PASSION FRUIT & MARZIPAN BATIDA £8.50
A blend of vanilla and marzipan flavoured vodkas, condensed milk (yes really), tigernut milk and passionfruit juice shaken with pimento dram and Disaronno amaretto to create heaven in a glass. This was Bo’s favourite and listen up Voyeurs, they should rename this one Lethal Weapon, it’s stealthy because it’s like sippin’ on a more-ish shake. Creamy yet refreshing.
PIMENTO & MANDARIN DAIQUIRI £8.50
A short cocktail served in a short stem class with a blend of Bacardi rum, mandarin, melon and pimento dram, shaken with caramelised pineapple and lime. This one tastes as it sounds, it’s a little bitter and whilst it’s less exciting than the two above, it’s still a refreshing cocktail. What you won’t expect though it the crunchy pieces that sit in the liquid, those tiny pieces of caramelised pineapple and lime give this drink some much needed bite.
BLOOD ORANGE & CHERRY ROYAL £7.50
Another short cocktail vibrant in colour and topped off with fresh mint which I couldn’t help nibbling on. this one has Larios gin, blood orange, aguardiente de cerezas, pimento dram all shaken up with lemon and topped with cava to cut through the sweetness and add a touch of fizz. If there’s a drink that tastes like vacations by the sea then this is it, refreshing to the core and definitely one that looks as sophisticated as it tastes.
After we were cocktailed out, we opted for a jug of Sangria, the menu offers a choice of four typical Spanish Sangrias and one Skinny Sangria with 30% less sugar than the others. We opted for a Sangria with a rose wine base.
BLOOD ORANGE ROSE SANGRIA £16
Made with rose wine, blood oranges, grapefruit, lemon, orange and lime, this offered a lighter, fresher, more citrus alternative to the traditional Sangria which is made with pineapple, strawberry and other fruits. Not sure what to expect after conjuring images of drinking Sangria to excess in our high school days, Marco arrived at our table with a jug, a wooden spoon and two tumblers. As you no doubt know, Sangria gets way stronger the further down the jug you get, no matter how much you stir it. I stuck to the top of the jug whilst Bo demolished the bottom half. As a Sangria it’s very unexpected, it’s light and refreshing, where some can be very dark and quite difficult to detect the alcohol, this one had a citrusy top note with a definite rose taste to it. Pleasant and most definitely Spanish.
When it comes to pricing, the drinks are at the cheaper end of the scale for cocktails and that’s most likely because the primary function of tapas Revolution is as a restaurant. However, you can visit just for drinks without buying food and even better, if you visit between 12-7pm Sunday to Friday jugs of Sangria are half price, cocktails are 2 for 1, and Larios gin and tonic is also 2 for 1. That’s way more than a Happy Hour, that’s a Happy Day, and you can’t say fairer than that.