Last week, I was lucky enough to visit Rosa Tapas situated in the heart of Bristol on Whiteladies road. I have been meaning to go for so long, for my love of tapas and because of how many people I have heard raving about it. I absolutely adore discovering new places to eat so as you can imagine, I was extremely eager to try Rosa out. I don’t go to Whiteladies very much, but always love going whenever I do. It is one of the main reasons that I love living in Bristol. There are so many different places to go, just minutes apart and they are all so different. Rosa fits into Bristol perfectly, with its unique brand and cosy interior. When we walked in it instantly felt warm and somewhere where you can easily relax and enjoy a good meal. It has a very romantic theme, with dim lights, candle settings and wood interiors, however without the cheesy addition that sometimes comes with this. The restaurant was buzzing, with people enjoying their Friday evening, good music and drinks in flow.
My favourite thing about the restaurant itself has to be the interior (obviously not to mention the food). It was so welcoming and it felt so nice to feel at ease the minute you step through the door.
Finn and I were made to feel welcome for the whole of our visit, and I must say the staff are a real credit to the Rosa brand. Not only were they friendly and attentive, but their knowledge and clear passion for the job completely shon through. Whenever trying somewhere knew, one of us usually does ask what they would recommend to try and particularly from a blogging view we try to get a variety of dishes to really experience what they have to offer. The lady who served us (I am SO sorry, I forgot to get your name!) was extremely helpful in helping us choose, not only recommending the dishes she enjoyed, but also the ones that the chef is the most proud of. It was an extremely personal service, whilst also being very chilled and easy to experience. From start to finish they were all incredible.
To drink, I obviously had to start with a cocktail, which unfortunately had to be my one and only because I was driving. I say unfortunately not only because I love a few drinks on the rare occasion that I am out on a Friday night, but also the cocktail I had was AMAZING! Obviously I had to go for the ‘Rosa’, which consisted of vodka, fresh passion fruit, limoncello, raspberries and thyme. It was a cocktail with a punch and the perfect balance of flavour. The sweet fruit balanced out the sharp taste of spirit, whilst also managing to refrain from being too sweet and overpowering. I am extremely fussy when it comes to cocktails as I need them to be very balanced in flavours to enjoy them. This was more than perfect for me.
Tapas | small dishes of Spanish cuisine, traditionally served with drinks.
Hummus & Goats Cheese
I am the biggest goats cheese fan, so with Finn not being that fussed, this was all for me. The hummus was amazingly creamy and packed with flavour, which was incredible with the sharp salty taste from the goats cheese. To add texture, it was topped with chickpeas, dates and apricot. The dates and apricot did a great job of adding sweetness to the dish, as well as the variety of texture. Served with bread, this to me was the ideal start to a meal or as an accompaniment if you visited just for a drink in the day or evening.
To try a variation of the meat dishes, the pork tenderloin was my choice, served with green runner beans and mint. I don’t know about you, but I personally find pork the hardest meat of them all to cook, particularly chops. I always manage to overlook it as I worry I could poison someone by not doing it for long enough so it just lands up being chewy. Obviously, I don’t have the skills of the Rosa kitchen team, as this was everything that mine isn’t. The meat was deliciously tender, with beautiful juices and a perfect balance of sweet and saltiness. The beans were really nice for added crunch and a kick of vitamins.
Patatas Bravas | translated to ‘Spicy Potatoes’
My view is, how can anyone go for tapas and not order patatas bravas? I think it is one of my favourite types of potato and if it is on the menu anywhere, I am ordering it. Rosa did a great job of nailing this Spanish classic. As it should be, the potatoes were crispy on the outside and perfectly fluffy in the middle, topped with the traditional aioli and tomato sauce. The aioli is a traditional sauce made with olive oil and garlic, then paired perfectly with a spicy tomato sauce. These little potatoes were packed with flavour and were everything I had hoped for out of the dish.
BBQ Rump Steak
For us both, this was the highlight of the tapas dishes and we are still both going on about how good it was. With us both being huge steak fans, this obviously was the first thing we knew we wanted to order. Cooked in the Rosa barbecue, the steak was served with some amazing puffed rice and gochujang. It was cooked to perfection, pink in the middle and a melt in your mouth texture. The addition of the crispy rice was such an amazing effect with the meat and was the ideal accompaniment to add a variety of texture to the dish. If we go back, I wouldn’t be surprised if Finn just orders himself three plates of this.
Black Pepper Squid
This dish was all for Finn as I cannot stand sea food. He is a big fan, so we ordered it for him to enjoy. Due to the fact that I can’t stand it, I left this part of the review to him as I wouldn’t even be able to tell you if it was good or bad. In his words he said it was amazing with an incredible warmth from the black pepper that perfectly complimented the squid. It was the perfect balance of texture and flavour, and Rosa managed to turn an ingredient that can often be bland into something very exciting with a huge kick of flavour.
I am a huge fan of Trout, however it is something that I just don’t eat very often. There is no particular reason for this other than I often forget about it. Trout is very similar to Salmon, however I would say a little denser in flavour. In Rosa, it was served with miso, spring onion and pickled cabbage. These are all things I would never have the enthusiasm to create at home, but all worked amazingly together.
It was an amazing combination of a taste of the sea with a slight sourness from the cabbage and strong but mellow taste from the fish. The fish was also cooked to perfection, with slight crisp on the outside whilst still being pink in the middle. I cannot stand over cooked fish. I was a big fan of the dish and would love to try and recreate something similar at home.
To finish our meal, we had one of the most delicious desserts I have ever tasted. For me, having a huge sweet tooth, this was the star of the show and the cherry on top of a delicious meal. We actually chose to share our pudding, however if I had known that it would be that delicious I would never have agreed! So, it was a while chocolate and vanilla panna cotta with crunchy meringue type biscuits, apricots and pistachio. It was absolutely incredible and I would completely recommend that you go to Rosa simply to try this. It was the perfect balance of sweet, with a subtle sharpness from the apricots and mellow nuttiness from the pistachio. In terms of texture, everything contrasted each other exquisitely, with the creamy panna cotta, gentle crunch from the biscuits, and extra bite for the pistachio and soft apricot. Every component was mouth wateringly delicious, and really showed off the skills of the talented chefs in the kitchen of Rosa Tapas.
This blog post is in collaboration Rosa Tapas and Socialight App. However all views and opinions are my own.
Thank you so much to Socialight for the opportunity to review Rosa Tapas, and to the whole team at Rosa for the delicious food, amazing hospitality and wonderful evening. We will be back!