Review: La Mancha, Putney
The popularity of Mediterranean food in England has meant tapas has become a bit tried and tested, with other cuisines becoming more trendy.
Food snobs are opting to eat elsewhere, with tapas restaurants popping up in shopping malls, pubs and even takeaway restaurants.
La Mancha, in Putney High Street, has stayed true to the cause and uses inspiration from elsewhere to keep the food fresh and new. The restaurant has become a bit of a Putney institute, proving to be popular with families and large parties celebrating by the river.
Salvatore Cricchio, manager of the restaurant said: “We specialise in this food from the La Mancha area in particular. Aubergine and scallops you don't find in other Spanish bars. We take a bit from everywhere in Spain.”
On entering the restaurant visitors are greeted with a large bar serving a selection of beers, wine and reasonably priced cocktails. At the back of the building is a cosy dining-room, with more of a cafe style feel, where you can feast on tapas at ease.
There is a mammoth selection of dishes to pick from. Recognisable choices are on there such as patatas bravas, chorizo and olives, but you can also find aubergine, chilli and roasted suckling pig based dishes showcasing the variety of food hailing from the La Mancha region.
For the more adventurous there is grilled calf's liver, black pudding and poached octopus, with staff on hand to recommend their personal favourites.
We start out with big juicy olives and pan con tomate (£2.95) which is fresh and light.
Staff quickly bring out the rest of the dishes we ordered which includes a medium sized dish of paella valenciana (£5.50), a plate of chorizo rosario (£5.95) and a bowl of patatas bravas (£4.50).
Cannelloni de berenjenas (£6.20), made up of aubergine rolls filled with mushrooms, goats cheese and garlic were presented elegantly on the plate, with the cheese stuffing melting in your mouth.
Scallops wrapped in bacon and served with lobster sauce (£9.95), recommended by the restaurant manager, were the stand out dish and left you wanting more.
Each dish is manageable enough to share between a group of people and you never feel overstuffed, leaving enough room to squeeze in a pudding.
We round the meal off with a crema catalana (£5.50) , a delicious custard ice-cream desert which tastes a bit like a frozen crème brulee.
La Mancha is a great option if you want to sample Spanish cuisine that you may never have tried before. It is also the perfect venue for a large group of people with a plethora of vegetable, fish and meat based dishes all present bound to keep even the fussiest of food snobs happy.
La Mancha, 32 Putney High Street, SW15 1SQ, visit lamancha.co.uk or call 020 8780 1022