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Restaurant Spotlight: Tasca Spanish Tapas Restaurant - International Trio Bring Tapas to Shekou

It seems as if it almost magically appeared in its location behind the Tai Zi Hotel. As you can see, the owners John of Scotland and Vernon of England put a lot of time and effort overlooking the renovation of this spot turning it from what they think was an old noodle place to a beautiful new venue for a special dinner, a place to hang with friends, or for a romantic
evening out. I met with the two owners and Xavi, their Spanish Chef from Barcelona with 12 years experience.

You might want to just head on over to relax and have a drink after work. A great place for almost any occasion. The idea to open Tasca, which is Spanish for tavern, was first discussed last Christmas. When I asked, “Why Spanish food?” John told me, “Shekou has everything. We wanted to bring something that Shekou didn’t have yet. Also Vernon’s mom spent lots of time in Spain so we went with Spanish Food.” I guess mom really does know best.

So by now you might be wondering, “What about the food?!?! Did you even eat?” I ate…boy did I eat. As full as I am right now, I still wish I was eating. This is a place that if you are missing some western food or want a good example of what Spanish cuisine tastes like you should head on over immediately. Drop your chopsticks and head to Tasca mid bowl of rice.

I asked Xavi to put some things together that I might want to try but I specifically asked for the Seafood Paella. He quickly disappeared into the kitchen to put everything together. As we waited, a nice big basket of Complimentary Sliced Toasted Bread done in a Spanish Style came out flavored with olive oil, garlic, and rubbed with tomatoes. A great little warm-up to the main attraction.

If you go to a Tapas restaurant, you gotta get some Tapas. Xavi put cooked up a nice group of them for me to explore as I dined with the owners.

The Tapas seemed to never stop coming out and we received them almost all at the same time. Similar to the style Chinese food is meant to be served in restaurants here, everything is definitely meant to be shared with a group. We had #10, the Spanish Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Chickpeas (48RMB) which is fast becoming a crowd favorite and can be found in any Tapas restaurant in Spain according to Xavi. I can really see why. Made with freshly ground pork, spices and covered in a tangy tomato sauce, they are a truly tasty treat. They came out sizzling and increased in volume as I dug one out of the serving bowl with my fork.

Coming around the same time were #A3, the Spanish Chicken Croquettes (45RMB). Made with ground chicken and deep fried in a batter, each one was a simple two bite snack. Very similar in taste to chicken nuggets.

Next came one of my favorites, the #7 Shrimp with Garlic, Oil, and Chili (48RMB). The shrimp were small in size but large in quantity. I made sure the dish was empty before sending it back. Also brought out was #A5 the Stewed “Toro” tail. Made with Oxtail, it is stewed for over 5 hours to turn the tough meat into a tender pile of shredded beef served in a cocktail glass. There is almost a sweetness to the flavor. I don’t know if they used a similar recipe, but from this one, the sweetness might come from using chocolate. A very interesting dish that I would have again.

The next Tapa was #22, a small dish of sliced Cerrano ham (85RMB). If you’ve never had Cerrano ham, it is like the famous Italian cured pork Prosciutto. Xavi would passionately argue that Cerrano is much better but admits he can’t be impartial since he is a Spain native.

Now came two more Tapas that were probably my top 2 from them all. All were great, but these two famous dishes seen in all Tapas restaurants throughout Spain stood out; The Spicy Potatoes, and the Spanish Tortilla. #14 The Spicy Potatoes (35RMB) are sliced fried potatoes topped with a dollop of freshly made mayonnaise and tomato sauce with a building heat that never gets too hot. I loved this and will have it next time I go. Also #2, the second Spanish Tortilla (48RMB) on their menu looked simple but was amazing. The tortilla I had, was an omelet with shrimp, asparagus, and spring onion. So delicious. For an entrée…yes, I’m still not done eating…For an entrée, I had #35 the Seafood Paella (155RMB). Be advised it takes a half hour to make, so I recommend ordering it right away or even calling ahead. It was not a surprise as it is stated on the menu, but I just want to help you avoid any long wait if you are really hungry and want to try this or the other Paella they offer. Anyway, it was worth the wait. The yellow rice was kept together with a tomatoey sauce. It had lots of small shrimp, bits of squid, and small clams throughout the rice, as well as small vegetables like peas and I think onions. Adorning the rice, and all of the other wonderful things I mentioned, were mussels on the half shell, and some really big prawns. Treat yourself and get this when you go. Xavi told me, “It is the most famous Spanish dish but there are many kinds. No one makes it the same and all have their own secret”. I wish I knew Tasca’s secret so I could make this for myself anytime I wanted.

I then had to try one of their desserts. As tempting as their cheesecake looked, I tried #56 the White Chocolate Mousse (35RMB). It was topped with Pineapple Coulis which is a fancy name for a puree and sprinkled with a few whole Pistachios. The mousse was so silky and smooth and had such a nice creaminess to it. I enjoyed it too much and finished it too quickly. If I had a criticism, I would say I think I would have enjoyed the contrast of the saltiness of the Pistachios to the chocolate if the nuts were chopped up and sprinkled on top. Nitpicking really. It was a wonderful dessert that has inspired me to look up how to make it myself.

It was a real pleasure talking with all three of them. They really seem like great guys that want to run an authentic Spanish five-star restaurant. Xavi has a warm personality and a deep love of cooking while John and Vernon are a funny duo, always cracking a joke. While John was taking care of some business, I talked a bit more with Vernon, who had been living here for over 12 years. He told me how, back then, the Taizi Hotel, was the only thing around there besides the road that went all the way to where the Nanshan Wal-Mart is now located. The road wasn’t even used by cars, just people on bicycles. My how things have changed! Maybe for the better since now we have a true Spanish Tapas restaurant in Shenzhen.

Here are some Daily Specials you might want to take advantage of:

They now have a Happy Hour between 3-7pm EVERYDAY, Carlsberg on tap and bottled Tsing Tao for only 10rmb, Sprits with a mixer for 25rmb, and a nice selection of brand name beers at 15rmb a bottle.

Monday – Free Dessert when you spend over 100RMB
Tuesday – Buy 2 Tapas Get One Free
Wednesday – Buy 2 Glasses or Jugs of Sangria Get One Free
Thursday – All Paella 20% Off

You will also be happy to know Tasca caters for private parties or business functions.

Shop No 3, in Back of the Taizi Hotel, Taizi Road, Seaworld, Shekou

Phone: 0755 26698564

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By: mLink
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