The international offerings at New Moon Tapas are far from weird and are truly wonderful, writes Sammy Milton
Tucked away on the glamorous strip of The Mall in Clifton Village is a restaurant that, in my opinion, needs to be on everyone’s radars. New Moon Tapas has been in operation for some time, and if you ask around, has built up an impressive following within certain circles. Owned by a husband and wife team, this restaurant may be small, but it’s certainly mighty.
I had personally never heard of it. Sure, you know the big names in tapas in Bristol – Paco, Poco, Gamabas and Bravas to name but a few – but New Moon had completely passed me by. So, when we were invited in to try their evening menu recently, I was very interested to give them a try.
Arriving on a freezing Wednesday night, late, thanks to a mishap with a taxi, myself and my dining companion were welcomed into the restaurant with warm smiles all around. Seated quickly at a cosy corner table, there was a cocktail each waiting for us – already, I liked this place. Even more so, when I looked at the menu. There’s a pleasing selection of small plates inspired by food from all over the world to choose from, spanning vegetable dishes, seafood, meat and desserts. They also offer a regularly changing cultural cuisine tour – a range of small plates featuring dishes from different countries. This time around, it was food
As good as that seemed, we stuck with the regular à la carte. Everything sounded too delicious to pass up, so we tried a few dishes from each section. From the vegetable dishes we ordered patatas bravas, a baked Camembert (well, ‘tis nearly the season) and a caprese salad.
All of these were flawless. The patatas bravas were crisp and incredibly hot, accompanied by a smoky tomato salsa that was gone in seconds. The baked Camembert came next, studded with rosemary, washed with Prosecco and served alongside thyme and sesame crostini. Oh, this was heaven – oozing and gooey and so obviously of a very high quality. When we finished the bread we simply used the last of the patatas bravas to mop up. We’re intuitive like that. The caprese salad was light and fresh – jewel-like slices of tomato lay atop thickly-cut fresh mozzarella with garlic, olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. The perfect palate cleanser.
From the seafood section we settled on a portion of king prawns and crab cakes. Both dishes were immaculately presented. The king prawns were huge and juicy, cooked in garlic and white wine and served with a pesto rosso cream – a New Moon classic, we were told. Incredibly succulent, these did not last long. The crab cakes were flavoursome and perfectly formed. Cooked with lemongrass, coriander, ginger and sweet chilli, they had an Asian tang that was most welcome.
Finally, from the meat section, came Siberian pelmeni. These were my favourite – little dumplings of joy filled with pork and beef, tenderly wrapped in thin pasta dough. I could’ve eaten these by the plateful – they were plentiful without being overly filling, and were an excellent dish to end the
Except, it wasn’t the end. The generous kitchen staff insisted on sending out some of their house sorbets for us to try – a tangy red berry sorbet and a more unusual lemon and goat’s cheese sorbet. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does. Try for yourself and see.
New Moon offer an exciting selection of dishes, some that you may never have heard of – and that is something worth mentioning in itself. If you’re after a completely different but wholly wonderful dining experience, or just want to escape the monotony of prawns-tortilla-chorizo that many tapas bars seem to rotate, then pay them a visit and take a world tour.
New Moon Tapas
9 The Mall Clifton
0117 239 3858