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FOOD & DRINK

Review: Top tapas at new Spanish restaurant Lola Taberna Española

Words by Rob Chilton

No-fuss food in a relaxed setting at the Tryp by Wyndham Dubai hotel

The warm chocolate sauce that comes with the golden churros at Lola Taberna Española is served in a glass, a simple tumbler that the restaurant also uses as a water glass. It’s a small detail but important to the restaurant’s concept: to serve unpretentious food in a relaxed atmosphere.

Other restaurants might have served the chocolate sauce in an elaborate dish or, worse, drizzled it artfully over the churros, but at Lola, a cute neighbourhood eatery in Barsha Heights (Tecom), they’re not trying to over-complicate things. A typical Spanish taberna atmosphere is the aim of general manager Lloy Rubio, who comes from Barcelona.

Paella with squid

“The taberna culture - where people come to eat great food, socialise and have fun in a relaxed environment - is part of Spain’s DNA, but completely new to Dubai,” he tells EDGAR.

The food from chef Daniel Delgado of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia is authentically Spanish. Fat green olives, cubes of manchego cheese in olive oil, a basket of bread, and padron peppers were delicious nibbles with a cold drink. "Our traditional dishes come from each and every corner of the country," adds Rubio. "We have classic tapas from Madrid, cold cuts typical of Catalunya, paellas from Valencia, pintxos [snacks eaten at the bar] from the Basque Country, and Andalusian calamari."

Patatas bravas

We moved on to tomatoes and olive oil on toast, cheese croquettes and spicy patatas bravas, which is still one of the most fun things you can say out loud in a restaurant. A Spanish omelette was a particular highlight. Next, the vegetable paella (AED 149 for two) came to the table in a large skillet and required a bit of scraping to dislodge the sticky rice around the edges, which is always a good sign.

Spanish omelette

Dishes were brought swiftly and without fanfare by friendly staff. The dining room inside has been lined with cosy wooden shutters, but the charmingly-lit terrace is a nice spot, too, surrounded by more wood (shame about the shiny purple cushions though, which looked out of place).

Terrace

Dubai restaurants often claim to be casual and relaxed but seldom are, instead adding unnecessary frills to clutter the experience. Lola Taberna Española, however, has hit the sweet spot of serving excellent food in a truly easygoing environment that brings Spanish taberna life to Dubai.

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