Bar Padron Tapas bar with convincing food.
Regent Street keeps on coming on. Bar Padron is the latest bar/restaurant to open in this, Cheltenham’s most interesting foodie street.
Based on a Thursday night visit just after opening, Bar Padron is a winner. Possibly this listing belongs under ‘bars’ but the food really got our attention, so hey.
Tables are on the ground and first floors, maybe 24 covers on the ground floor.
It’s proper tapas style – ‘small plates’, so no starter, mains format. You can score an Iberica Ham Board for £12, Tortilla Espanola (£6 – incidentally made with free range eggs and in general there’s a approach to suppliers that shows care here), Prawns in Garlic (£8.50) or Duroc Crispy Pork Ribs (£9) or an Iberican Fillet Steak for £25. Head Chef is the promisingly-named Roberto Sanchez.
Our order was Padron Peppers (£4.50), Aubergine and Courgette fries with molasses (£4.50), Patatas Bravas (£5), Croquetas de Jamon (£2.20 each), Tomato Salad (£5), and Manchego with honey (£5). Star dishes were the tomato salad, with a great garlic hit; and the aubergine and courgette fries which had a lightness of touch – the molasses were a revelation. That lightness of touch was in evidence throughout. For example 99 out of a hundred chefs would slap a few squiggles of honey on your Manchego – here it was dotted with minute spots, delicious.
Wines are Spanish, natch. There are several Spanish gins and the usual-suspect beers. We had a bottle of Fino (£20 / 375cl) which was really great/brilliant – Electrico, an unfortified, unfiltered 100% Pedro Ximénez by Toro Albalá. A fantastic match for the food, with that characteristic briny finish.
Sherry and tapas for two came to £50. Not to put too fine a point on it, we left pissed and happy (why do food writers never say this?), which is basically the purpose of a restaurant.
On Sundays there’s a lunchtime paella which sounds like fun, and we’ll definitely try that out.