Evuna’s website proudly announces that it has opened a fourth tapas restaurant in ‘foodie central’ Altrincham, and it’s still pinch-yourself remarkable that the little market town, not generally known as a culinary hub until recently, can justifiably be referred to as such these days. So, is Evuna simply joining the gourmand gold rush here or does it have something to offer?
Visitors to the existing Evunas (in Manchester and Knutsford) will know what to expect, namely good things. As at the other sites, diners eat while surrounded by wine – that’s to say, bottles are stored all around the place. This isn’t purely for show: Evuna prides itself on its imported wine selection, and on arrival tonight we’re treated to some pleasing, gentle hoopla about which wine we might choose, with our waiter recommending an excellent, fragrant Habla del Silencio, a blend of Syrah, Cabernet and Tempranillo direct from Extremadura. We’re even offered a try of our runner-up, just to taste the difference. There’s almost a sense that Evuna is all about the wine with food as a sideline after-thought, but while that would seem true to the Spanish bar-side origins of tapas, it would be to undersell the skill with which Evuna does it.
We’re happy to be guided in our selections by our waiter, and he certainly knows what he’s doing. We start out with the generous Plato Español, a meat and cheese platter which takes in Ibérico ham, Serrano ham, Chorizo Ibérico, Spanish cheeses, Gordal olives, tiny bread bites and toasted almonds. It goes perfectly with the wine, of course, and it’s a well-balanced selection. Frankly, that might do you for a quick meal.
Needless to say, though, we didn’t stop there. Some trusty dishes, such as the spicy patatas bravas and albondigas (herby pork and beef meatballs in tomato sauce), were perfectly fine without setting the world on fire. More striking were the gambas, prawns with a real garlic and chilli kick, and the pimientos del padrón (padrón peppers with sea salt). Not without reason does Evuna have a reputation for doing interesting things with sea salt.
There was no resisting the slow-cooked Iberico pork cheeks on potato parmentier which were deliciously rich and fall-apart tender. And a monthly special, chicken leg with sticky lemon sauce and cubed potatoes, went down very well, even if ordering it was clearly pure greed. Speaking of which, our desserts, an apple cheesecake with blackberry and a light chocolate brownie cake perfectly complemented with forest fruit coulis, left us with big daft happy smiles on our faces.
The menu might not be vast, but the food at Evuna is certainly of a decent quality, and the service couldn’t have been more helpful or attentive. The Altrincham site has an agreeable, easy atmosphere and, considering Evuna is now pretty much a chain, it should be a worthwhile, impressive, characterful addition to Altrincham’s growing armoury of restaurants. The foodies will find much to appreciate here, and so will the, um, winies.
Evuna, Stamford New Road, Altrincham