Tapasia sits on Old Compton Street in Soho and has been open now for around 2 months. I know these premises have had quite a few different establishments opening here in the years and never managed to survive, generally because they serve bad food, and restaurateurs seem to think this road is only for cheap vegetarian buffets of chains. Therefore, with the opening of Tapasia I was looking forward to some good grub near my drinking Haunts in Soho.
If you haven’t already guessed by the name the restaurant focuses on Tapas sized Pan-Asian dishes. I understand Pan-Asian food is Fusion cooking from Southern Asia but I felt some of the dishes here had too much of a European influence.
The menu boasts only a small selection of dishes but with equal offerings of meat, fish and vegetables and also a set menu, which by the looks of it are more a la carte sized as opposed to tapas sizes. They also offer a good selection of cocktails and iced teas and a small seating area out-front, which is great for people watching while sipping on one of their cocktails or iced teas.
We opted for a modest selection of Tapas and first to arrive was a Grilled Aubergine with yoghurt Hummus. The aubergine was well cooked, very soft and coated in what I think was honey, which gave it a nice sweetness. The bed of hummus it was sitting on was also very nice, although the combination didn’t really work too well, but it was far from terrible.
The tempura vegetables were quite frankly, rubbish. The vegetables themselves were very bland and had no flavour, presumably cheaply bought. The tempura batter was also strangely sweet and for me tasted like it should have been on a fruit or with a dessert. The dish was served alongside some Ponzu sauce (rice vinegar, seaweed and citrus to name a few ingredients).
I love any kind meat on a skewer, especially if it’s been sitting on a grill of fiery flames, so the grilled beef skewers with a duo of spicy and tarragon sauces were my immediate choice. The beef was very tender, juicy and well-seasoned but it was too smokey and left a lingering taste in my mouth. The sauces went very well with the beef but there was a bit too much and drowned the meat slightly, so apart from it being overly smokey I did enjoy this dish.
Slow roasted Shichimi pork belly & apple salad was the highlight of the menu for me. Still sizzling as it arrived at the table and in a delicious sticky sweet sauce. While the meat was juicy and tender the top was lovely and crispy. Again this dish was notably overly smoky. The apple salad was nondescript but lightened up the dish.
Getting full but was really looking forward to the Chocolate spring roll with soy caramel, but they were sold out, so I went with the Rose tapioca pearl with coconut sorbet. The tapioca was lovely and light and the coconut sorbet was just the right intensity with a nice soft creaminess, the rose infusion went well but was a tad too much and dominated the coconut, the dried rose petals were a nice touch.
Overall the food here was just ok and is somewhere I could maybe see myself coming with some friends after a few too many drinks, but wouldn’t go out of my way to book. I came here during the soft launch so the bill was slashed in half but a meal for two with cocktails is around £80, which is not cheap.