An independent and honest review
My mama and I went to Bristol to visit my sister after not seeing her for a long time because of the lockdowns and the pandemic. My sister Lali booked us a table at Gambas Tapas Bar (Instagram: @gambastapasbar) in Wapping Wharf. My sister paid £25 per person booking fee to secure our booking as required and will only be taken out when we cancel or no show. Which is fair enough, I completely understand. I do something similar for my Supper Clubs.
We were all excited to dine at Gambas and eat some tapas, it was a little reminder of our ladies trip to Barcelona last year before the 1st lockdown happened in the UK. We ate so much Pintxo in Barcelona! I know, I know they’re not the same but very similar. I’m all for it, I love tapas with some beer. We call it Pulutan in the Philippines.
When we arrived at Cargo 2, there was a short queue for the table. We were eventually asked if we had a booking which we did, woohoo! We were taken to our seats, our waiter introduced himself and gave us the menu. I did stalk Gambas’s instagram before coming so I knew what I would like to order.
This is what we ordered:
Oyster au natural
House cured Trout, fennel aioli, pickled gooseberries, picual oil, fresh fennel
Boquerones en vinagre
Cornish mussels with white wine, garlic & bay
Salt grilled wild red prawn
Hereford beef onglet, mojo rojo, jus
Croqueta del dia
Crema Catalana Gambas style
The Service was pleasant, the waiter was attentive and polite. Although he didn’t know much about the menu and had to ask the kitchen for clarifications. I’m not sure if he was a new staff member at the restaurant but I found that annoying especially when he had to go and ask a few times. Apart from that the waiter was friendly and good to us. As part of the service I found the Menu frustrating! It was all in Spanish (hello! why?). There were no English explanations or translations on the menu, hence why we had to keep asking the waiter what the menu meant? In theory we could go on their instagram to see what each menu means but that is not very practical. Call me a simpleton but I want to be able to look at the menu and know exactly what I’m ordering. We also missed some dishes we wanted but didn’t know what it was called on the menu and we didn’t want to ask the waiter again. I’m all for authenticity and all but c’mon! I need translations please?!! When it comes to food, I don’t need any barriers between me and my food. Gambas people please add some English translations or employ someone who can translate the menu!
The Food came as and when they were ready, which worked fine for us as we were talking, catching up and drinking. So it was nice and relaxing for us. All the dishes are well presented “instagrammable” i.e pretty. So our eyes and camera (my camera) were the first to eat. I enjoyed most of the food, my highlight would be:
Hereford beef onglet in mojo rojo jus – The beef onglet was cooked perfectly, just how I would cook my steak and the mojo rojo went nicely with it.
House cured Trout, fennel aioli, pickled onions, picual oil, fresh fennel – I really enjoyed this trout dish, it tasted fresh and everything worked nicely together.
Aubergine molasses – I was surprised by this dish, I didn’t think aubergine can be made into chips but they did it, it was crispy (not soggy) and the molasses went so well with it.
Boquerones en vinagre – I love this dish! It’s anchovies in oil and vinegar, pretty much like a pickled fish. I dipped my bread in vinegar and oil, then added a piece of anchovy on top and Bob’s your uncle! It was delicious, I could do with another plate of this to be honest.
The mussels were also tasty but they lacked something for me but they did taste fresh which was lovely. The rest of the dishes we got were okay, it didn’t stand out as much as the dishes I mentioned above, but my least favourite was Seafood Salpicon and Croqueta del dia. The Salpicon didn’t do it for me, it lacked seasoning and there were too many bell peppers for my liking and not enough seafood. The Croqueta was a miss for me, the outside was nice and crunchy but the inside lacked in ox cheeks meat for my liking. You might as well just scooped the inside and just serve me the crunchy bit! Hahaha!! After all the food my mama and sis shared the Crema Catalana dessert, it came on fire which was impressive (to caramelise the sugar on top), we watched it caramelise until the fire was gone, the sugar was crumbly on top (a little too burnt for me) and the cream was smooth and creamy. I personally thought it was too sweet but my sister and mama enjoyed it.
The Price was reasonable for a tapas bar, I haven’t really been around Bristol much so I can’t compare with Bristol prices, however for London prices Gambas is a really good price! The cheapest dimsum I can get in Chinatown in London is £3.50 and Gambas’s cheapest item is £2.95 so I think the price is good there plus the seafood you get is fresh.
The Verdict: I would definitely go back to their restaurant again next time I’m in Bristol (ahem..queue resto invite), now that I have experienced their food and an insight to their menu. I can better order without asking for help from the waiters. Also I might bring a Spanish friend to translate (joke!). Haha! Btw our reservation was 7pm, so by the time the sun set, our food started arriving, we felt like we were in Spain minus the heat. All together we had a lovely meal together, we were laughing and enjoing the food too.
Have you visited them before? How did it go? Comment below to tell me how your experience with them went.