Tapas are traditionally eaten in Spain with drinks before meals, but increasingly in Britain, restaurants are serving a larger selection of tapas as a meal.
It is a relaxed way of dining and means everyone can have a little taste of lots of different small dishes without having the hassle of trying to decide on one dish from a menu.
Kafe Bloc, in Sheep Street, Kettering, is a popular cafe during the day, while on occasional Fridays it opens later for tapas evenings.
The idea is proving popular and it is worth booking in advance if you fancy giving it a try.
Ade and I took my parents recently for a chat and a catch up and because I can never be bothered to cook for people on a Friday night.
The menu is take it or leave it, but with eight different dishes brought to your table over the course of the evening, with vegetarian alternatives when necessary, there’s something for even the pickiest of eaters.
While we decided on drinks, we nibbled the selection of breadsticks, roasted corn, roasted almonds, olives and skewers of pickles that were on the table as we arrived.
The drinks menu is short and fairly priced and we decided on a bottle of white wine that cost £10.
The dishes were then brought to us at a leisurely pace, perfect for an evening of chatting and catching up.
The first to arrive was a huge plate of spicy chorizo, cooked in Spanish honey and Rioja, and served with dough balls and sherry vinegar and oil.
I’m not a huge fan of chorizo but these were lovely, with a delicious tang. We were offered more dough balls and started to think that we’d be full after only two courses, never mind all eight.
Next to arrive was tortilla de patas, a traditional Spanish omelette with chorizo and onion, with a veggie option for non-meat eaters. Once again, a tasty dish and a more manageable size than the chorizo.
Then came mejillones con sofrito, a bowl of mussels in their shells, cooked in a white wine, garlic and cream sauce with crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices. My dad is a real shellfish fan and he soon finished off the bowl.
A refreshing green salad followed before one of my favourite dishes of the evening, chaminones rellenos, or mushrooms stuffed with manchego cheese and garlic, baked in the oven and served with salsa. Delicious.
We then had cordero con limon (lamb cooked with lemon) and gambas al agillo y pedron pimientos. This was prawns pan fried with garlic and chilli flakes and served with pedron peppers. Another very tasty dish and one to tickle the tastebuds quite literally if you happened to choose one of the peppers with a real kick.
We then had just enough room to squeeze in a selection of Spanish cheeses, including manchego, one of my favourites, and a small dessert of raspberry sorbet.
The total cost of the evening, including the bottle of wine, a beer, plus a small and large glass of Rioja, was £93. We thought it was worth every penny for a relaxed, lesiurely meal served by charming staff and with enough variety of dishes to suit us all.
Kafe Bloc, Piccadilly Buildings, Sheep Street, Kettering, NN16 0AN
FOOD:A good mix of dishes
DISABLED ACCESS: Limited
PARKING: Plenty nearby
COST OF OUR MEAL
FINAL TOTAL: £93
Janet’s star rating: 9/10