Some people think that the word tapas comes from word cover. They believe that this naming derived from the habit of covering a drink with a small dish of food to protect it from flies and adverse weather conditions. They are of course entirely wrong.
Tapas was in fact named after an event in the life of little known Spanish aristocrat and philanthropist Francis Benali. Francis, whose mother had divorced and remarried years before, was having a very disappointing birthday week, when his two fathers intervened and threw him a big party. He was so impressed he cooked them a small plate of food to say “Ta Pas” and so a cultural icon was born.
Food Type: Tapas
Time and Day Visited: Saturday around 6pm, as a walk in customer.
With: My wife (A now rare Saturday night, Date Night!)
Cost: ££ out of £££££
Staff: Friendly, accommodating and efficient.
Venue: Small, classically decorated and busy.
Crockery: White Plates and Ceramic Dishes.
Thoughts: I have to admit upfront that I love Tapas and spending time with my wife is always going to put me in a good mood, so I was really excited about Bravas, We were seated impressively quickly, despite being walk in customers on a Saturday evening. The bar space was a little bijou and my long legs struggled, but the atmosphere was good and the restaurant had a great hum to it. We were served quickly, I chose a Oloroso sherry and my wife an elderflower fizz.
Each of the dishes (We ordered in two sets of dishes, mostly due to being keen to try more things!) came when ready, but all within a fifteen minute window. We started with the roasted pepper dish, which was well seasoned, moreish and full of typically Spanish flavours. The aubergine came next and it was crunchy, earthy and sweet. Again, a dish we could have eaten twice. Third up was the pan fried chicken livers, which were rich, moist and melt in the mouth. This was my favourite dish by far. The complexity of flavours and the cooking of the meat made for a fantastic dish. Fourth was the partridge, which was gamey and the chutney sweet. This was a little over salted for me, but was my wife’s favourite dish of the evening.
We then ordered again, choosing the squash salad, which was pudding sweet, but matched perfectly with the salty, creaminess of the goats cheese. The prawns were perfectly cooked and I would have happily eaten ten! Last up and I think mistakenly so on our behalf, was the Patatas Bravas. We were underwhelmed by this dish, but I think our palates had been a little too spoilt by this point to properly appreciate them, as they were crispy, salty, but a bit bland.
Overall the food was fantastic, we ate well and left feeling very full. We were surprised by the value and thought that the bill would have been at least ten pounds more, so for these reasons we will definitely be back. Bravas is a Bristol staple with very good reason.
Perfect for… all occasions, but especially date night appropriate, as the lighting was romantic and the food fun to share!