Home Life Cheap, Tasty and Undiscovered: El Rocio Restaurant Review

Cheap, Tasty and Undiscovered: El Rocio Restaurant Review

by BeckyBecky

Last week’s date night saw me perusing the Tastecard app.

I signed up for a Tastecard about 5 years ago, and it’s one of my best annual investments – £30 for consistent amazing discounts at a range of restaurants. The best thing about a Tastecard is that it’s not just 10 or 20% off your meal – it is only ever 2-4-1 on courses, or 50% off all food. IKR.

rocio tastecard

Anyway, I spotted a little tapas restaurant around the corner from us on the app called El Rocio. No review in the app, or on Google, and the website isn’t working – but a further search showed that it’s not been open too long. When I called up to book (for a Friday evening at 7:30pm), I was told they had no bookings. Not no available bookings – no actual bookings had been made for dinner Friday night.

“Not there then,” said TC when I told him, but I decided to stick with it. And I’m glad I did.

First Impressions of El Rocio

We arrived on time to a completely empty restaurant. Let me be clear – this should be attributed to its location – it’s hardly the sort of place you’d stumble across at random – rather than its food or service or price, as you’ll see.

The place was kitted out in red, with a large flamenco dancer on one wall and a large window opening onto the street. Our waiter offered us the choice of seats, and we chose a four-seater (always handy to have the extra space when sharing tapas, in my experience).

Interior of restaurant - Rocio Restaurant Review

Interior of restaurant - Rocio Restaurant Review

Interior of restaurant with TC - Rocio Restaurant Review

TC declined sangria in favour of wine (why am I dating a man who likes neither sangria nor Pimms?), and though they didn’t have our first choice in, the house wine was a good second choice – and it was Spanish, so props for that.

Spanish red wine - Rocio Restaurant Review

The menu was short but full of more tasty-sounding dishes than we could reasonably order. The dishes were offered at half-portion or full-portion, so we decided to share four halves and a side. Like in any tapas restaurant, dishes were brought out when ready, not together, but this usefully gave me a little bit of time to snap some pics.

Bread - Rocio Restaurant Review

Food

Our first dish was chorizo al vino, a Spanish classic that I find is essential to get at any tapas place as a barometer for quality (FYI the best I’ve ever had was the Cha Cha Chorizo, the melt-in-your-mouth ecstasy which is for some reason no longer on the menu at Las Iguanas). Here the fried chorizo was served with red onions in a red wine sauce. It was amazing – not quite melt-in-the-mouth, but soft and very flavourful.

Chorizo al vino - Rocio Restaurant Review

Next up was albondigas de la casa – meatballs in a tomato-ey sauce, served with a mound of rice. This dish didn’t rock my world – I’d have preferred them cooked a bit longer for added texture – but they were still seasoned to perfection.

Albondigas - Rocio Restaurant Review

Our side caught TC by surprise. Patatas Bravas is usually served in a spicy tomato sauce, but the Patatas Bravas Rocio was topped instead with aioli. Unlike TC, I’d actually read the menu, so I was more than looking forward to the yummy garlicky potatoes.

Patatas bravas - Rocio Restaurant Review

Our third main dish was frutes del mar mixto marinado. The mixed fried seafood dish included breaded calamari, whitebait, onion and a large prawn. I love getting mixed dishes as it lets you try even more things. This was awesome – crispy, not greasy.

Frutes del mar - Rocio Restaurant Review

And finally we had a serving of croquetas de queso. The little deep-fried parcels of brie were theoretically served with tomato jam, but it tasted a little more fruity – like cranberry or even strawberry. Either way, it totally worked.

Croquetas de queso - Rocio Restaurant Review

After

Unfortunately, when we asked for the dessert menu, our waiter said the kitchen had closed to design a new menu. Sadtimes.

But the bill brought a smile back to our faces. With the 50% off from the Tastecard (which here even included the drinks), it was just £25 – amazingly cheap for tapas for two.

We’ll definitely be back. The atmosphere (a.k.a. complete deadness) of the place leaves something to be desired, but c’mon – amazingly cooked tapas for under £30? It would be rude not to.

I just discovered that Tastecard are currently offering three months for £1! GET ONE. You will make way more than that back the first time you use it. GET ONE GET ONE GET ONE!

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