The tales of a half-Spanish, Southern guy with Yorkshire roots living in Bolton and looking for some half-decent grub

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Levanter Fine Foods, Ramsbottom

I am unashamedly proud to be Spanish.

That was the case back when I got a huge amount of stick from my friends as England beat Spain in Euro '96 and it was still the case when Spain marched to victory in the three consecutive football tournaments of 2008, 2010 and 2012.

I have also been certified as an adopted-Lancastrian, according to my Wife, after complaining about it being 'too hot down South' and wishing for 'a bit of drizzle' during a trip to visit my family in Hampshire.

Given the above, I am sure you can imagine my delight when I found out that a tapas bar had opened over in Ramsbottom, bringing together the world's best cuisine with England's best county.  

I have had my fair share of tapas all across Spain and have found that nothing is better than a small backstreet bar that serves up a lively atmosphere and authentic food.  As far as taperias go in England, I have not had much success finding a good one... until now.

Levanter rises up (pun intented) above all other tapas bars I have been to in the UK.  In fact, it gives the best taperias of Spain a run for their money too.

We had tried to eat at Levanter a few times over the summer but they always seemed to be full.  On this visit it was almost as busy but luckily we arrived as a couple were leaving.

The restaurant is small with a large bar, just like in Spain, and the atmosphere was lively in a homely way.  Like stepping into a house full of your family who are already having rousing conversation.  

It is this welcoming and bubbly atmosphere that makes the tapas bars a success and Levanter is no exception.

We were greeted warmly and seated before being offered drinks.  

And guess what?!  They even serve Fanta Lemon: my quintessential drink of holidays in the sun. 

What followed was the best tapas I have had the pleasure to eat for a very long time.  The dishes are served traditionally, so they arrive as and when they are cooked.  You can keep reordering to your heart's content.

Lamb Cutlets and Salsa Verde:

Often, chuletas de cordero can be chewy and without flavour but the team at Levanter deliver incredible flavour and texture with this dish.  Served with olives and a tangy salsa, it was a great start to our meal.

Mussels in Fino with Serrano:
Served in a cast iron pot, the mussels were large, fresh and delicious.  The small slivers of garlic and red onion brought flavour to the broth at the bottom which I finished off with the bread.

Fuego Chorizo with Honey and Sherry Vinegar:
A modern twist on the old classic chorizo al vino tinto you find in most taperias.  This version knocked the proverbial socks off its traditional counterpart as the flavour from the honey complimented the meat perfectly.

Deep Fried Manchego and Crispy Jamón:
Without doubt the best tapa I have eaten. Melted cheese and a sweet dipping salsa made for a wonderful flavour on the tongue.
I would go back just for this dish.  In fact I want it again now!

I could not be more happy that I have finally found a restaurant in the UK worthy enough to be called a taperia.  Even better, it is right on my doorstep in the amazing food hotspot that is Ramsbottom.

One thing that is for sure:  when Spain and Lancashire come together good things happen. 

Levanter Fine Foods on Urbanspoon


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