Review: La Tasca, Grey Street, Newcastle

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TABLES heaving with plates of tapas take me back to sunny holidays in Ibiza.

On the rare occasions we left the dancefloors or beaches to eat, my friends and I would crowd round a table in an authentic Spanish restaurant to shut out the neon madness of San Antonio for a few hours.

Sadly, Newcastle on a rainy day had none of the fiesta spirit about it, but in the basement of one of its grand old buildings, La Tasca was in full party mode.

The Spanish-themed eaterie regularly holds Feast Like A King nights, where would-be royals both male and female can eat as much as they like for £10.

Be warned – it’s popular.

After a teeth-grinding 20-minute wait for a table which would have done the Spanish Inquisition proud, my dining partner and I were shown to our seats and given our menus.

The £10 deal doesn’t offer the full complement of La Tasca dishes, but more than a bite-size, with about 16 plates spread across fish, meat and vegetarian options.

Hunger sharpened by our spell at the bar, we ordered extensively, with calamari andaluza (crispy squid rings), pescado blanco frito (fried fish), croquetas de pollo (chicken croquettes), chorizo frito al vino (spicy sausage), pata bravas (fried potatoes in tomato sauce), gambas garbadina (prawns in batter) and albondigas a la jardinera (meatballs) all piling up at our tiny table.

Chorizo is naturally a greasy dish and the squid rings were also too greasy to earn another round.

But the fish, prawns and meatballs were worth a second and even third order as we balanced the concept of getting our money’s worth with being able to walk back to the car.

Service from the authentic Spanish waitresses was fast under extreme pressure of a busy night and we agreed they would have benefited from a few more helping hands.

Food and drinks for two came to £23.22, plus a tip for our worn-out server.

Visit www.latasca.co.uk to find out when the next £10 night is and download a voucher, which each person who eats will need.